The Great War

from Poems of the Great War, an electronic edition

Aftermath

Yes, he is gone, there is the message, see!

Slain by a Prussian bullet as he led

The men that loved him -- dying, cheered them on --

My son, my eldest son. So be it, God!

This is no time for tears, no time to mourn,

No time for sombre draperies of woe.

Let the aggressors weep! for they have sinned

The sin of Satan. Lust of power and pride,

Mean envy of their neighbors' weal, a plot

Hatched amidst glozing smiles and prate of peace

Through the false years; until the Day, the Day

When all this worship at the Devil's feet

Should win the world. Ay, let them weep!

But we

With eyes undimmed march on; our mourning robes

Be-jewelled by the deeds of those that die,

Lustre on lustre, till no sable patch

Peeps through their brilliance.

In the years to come,

When we have done our work, and God's own peace,

The Peace of Justice, Mercy, Righteousness,

Like the still radiance of a summer's dawn,

With tranquil glory floods a troubled world;

Why then, perhaps, in the old hall at home,

Where once I dreamed my eldest-born should stand

The master, as I stand the master now,

Our eyes, my wife, shall meet and gleam, and mark

Niched on the walls in sanctity of pride,

Hal's sword, Dick's medal, and the cross he won

Yet never wore. That is the time for tears,

Drawn from a well of love deep down; deep down,

Deep as the mystery of immortal souls,

That is the time for tears; not now, not now!