The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

A Petition

All that a man might ask thou hast given me, England,

Birthright and happy childhood's long heart's-ease,

And love whose range is deep beyond all sounding

And wider than all seas:

A heart to front the world and find God in it,

Eyes blind enow but not too blind to see

The lovely things behind the dross and darkness,

And lovelier things to be;

And friends whose loyalty time nor death shall weaken

And quenchless hope and laughter's golden store --

All that a man might ask thou has given me, England,

Yet grant thou one thing more:

That now when envious foes would spoil thy splendour,

Universed in arms, a dreamer such as I,

May in thy ranks be deemed not unworthy,

England, for thee to die.