The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

To a Hero

We may not know how fared your soul before

Occasion came to try it by this test.

Perchance, it used on lofty wings to soar;

Again, it may have dwelt in lowly nest.

We do not know if bygone knightly strain

Impelled you then, or blood of humble clod

Defied the dread adventure to attain

The cross of honor or the peace of God.

We see but this, that when the moment came

You raised on high, then drained, the solemn cup --

The grail of death; that, touched by valor's flame,

The kindled spirit burned the body up.