The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

The Spires of Oxford

I saw the spires of Oxford

As I was passing by,

The gray spires of Oxford

Against the pearl-gray sky.

My heart was with the Oxford men

Who went abroad to die.

The years go fast in Oxford,

The golden years and gay,

The hoary Colleges look down

On careless boys at play.

But when the bugles sounded war

They put their games away.

They left the peaceful river,

The cricket-field, the quad,

The shaven lawns of Oxford,

To seek a bloody sod --

They gave their merry youth away

For country and for God.

God rest you, happy gentlemen,

Who laid your good lives down,

Who took the khaki and the gun

Instead of cap and gown.

God bring you to a fairer place

Than even Oxford town.