The Great War

from Poems of the Great War, an electronic edition

Said Attila the Hun to --

It was not here -- it was not there,

It was not now -- it was not then...

Beyond the bounds of Otherwhere,

Two tyrant lords of vanished men --

They meet in shadowy mail and casque,

They greet, and of each other ask.

(Two shades whose work on earth was dire,

Mid darted lights and whelming gloom,

Their eyes the lamps of lethal fire,

Fierce thirst for power their endless doom --

To seek, to be thrown back, to seek!...

To learn the triumph of the weak!)

"Lo, I am Attila, who laid

Proud Aquileia in the dust;

The Slav, the Teuton, slaked my blade --

Of blood I had the sacred lust!

Yea, Attila am I; but thou,

Who has our brand upon thy brow!"

"I, too, made treasure-cities smoke,

And blood with ashes mixed therein;

And from the sky, on sleeping folk,

Mine engines did full vengeance win!"

To whom said Attila the Hun,

"In all of this thou hast well done!"

"But I," the other shade replies,

"Where'er I dealt the killing blow,

Or gave mine iron cross as prize,

Therewith I bade God's blessing go..."

...Then, Attila fell back, outdone --

God's scourge, and not His favored son!