The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

To an Old Lady Seen at a Guesthouse for Soldiers

Quiet thou didst stand at thine appointed place,

There was no press to purchase -- younger grace

Attracts the youth of valour. Thou didst not know,

Like the old, kindly Martha, to and fro

To haste. Yet one could say, "In thine I prize

The strength of calm that held in Mary's eyes."

And when they came, thy gracious smile so wrought

They knew that they were given, not that they bought.

Thou didst not tempt to vauntings, and pretence

Was dumb before thy perfect woman's sense.

Blest who have seen, for they shall ever see

The radiance of thy benignity.