The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

The Kaiser and Belgium

He said: "Thou petty people, let me pass.

What canst thou do but bow to me and kneel?"

But sudden a dry land caught fire like grass,

And answer hurtled but from shell and steel.

He looked for silence, but a thunder came

Upon him, from Liège a leaden hail.

All Belgium flew up at his throat in flame

Till at her gates amazed his legions quail.

Take heed, for now on haunted ground they tread;

There bowed a mightier war lord to his fall:

Fear! lest that very green grass again grow red

With blood of German now as then with Gaul.

If him whom God destroys He maddens first,

Then thy destruction slake thy madman's thirst.