The Great War

from Poems of the Great War, an electronic edition

Close Your Ranks

Yes! Draw them close and closer still,

The silken threads, that bind in one

The prince, the peasant, rich and poor,

Hark! Hark! The Armageddon is begun.

O Britons all, let Duty be

The watchword and the panoply.

The last to draw the sword, but not

The first to sheathe it; slow we rise

To arms. 'Tis Duty's stern behest,

A peal of thunder from the skies,

Which bids us to defend the Right

Against the tyranny of Might.

Did we forget in the days gone by,

"Not each for each but all for all,"

The sacred bond of Brotherhood,

By which great empires rise or fall?

Nay! But that evil dream is past,

That strange aloofness healed at last.

Dear Isle, dear tiny speck in space,

Responsive to thy drums of war,

And thrilled by loyalty of love,

They come, thy sons from shores afar;

Thy Flag, fair floating on the breeze

Beckons them o'er the trackless seas.

So far and near, so one and all,

Though each one differs from the others,

We stand together as of old,

For round the Flag we all are brothers.

And so we close our ranks to be

The phalanx, which is victory.