The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

Destroyers off Jutland

["If lost hounds could speak when they cast up next day after an un-checked night among the wild life of the dark they would talk much as our destroyers do." -- Rudyard Kipling.]

They had hot scent across the spumy sea,

Gehenna and her sister, swift Shaitan,

That in the pack, with Goblin, Eblis ran

And many a couple more, full cry, foot-free;

The dog-fox and his brood were fain to flee,

But bare of fang and dangerous to the van

That pressed them close. So when the kill began

Some hounds were lamed and some died splendidly.

But from the dusk along the Skagerack,

Until dawn loomed upon the Reef of Horn

And the last fox had slunk back to his earth,

They kept the great traditions of the pack,

Staunch-hearted through the hunt, as they were born,

These hounds that England suckled at the birth.

Notes

["If lost hounds could speak when they cast up next day after an un-checked night among the wild life of the dark they would talk much as our destroyers do." -- Rudyard Kipling.]