The Great War

from Poems of the Great War, an electronic edition

Mother of Nations

Why?

Does the Mother of Nations draw the sword

To rescue her children oppressed?

They have all that the richest lands afford;

They sit content at an ample board

As safe as a bird in its nest.

Has she laid her spear on the shield of Mars

New lands in the wars to gain?

Her dominions extend wherever the stars

Are blushing with shame for our foolish wars;

Her ships are on every main.

And not that the world may acclaim her grand

Is the roar of her guns on the seas;

Her name is lustred on every strand,

Her glory is known to the farthest land

Where her standard floats on the breeze.

Ah this is the pillar of cloud and fire

That leads her hosts along;

This, this is the goal of their deep desire,

The road where their feet shall never tire, --

To be just, keep faith and be strong.

So the Mother of Nations has risen in might

At the word of the onward call;

She has shaken her banners forth to the light,

And marched to the front of the people's fight

Like the van of a tidal wall.

And the future shall say of her sons who died

Wherever their feet have trod

With millions of comrades in arms allied;

"They cast the treasures of earth aside

And marched to the goals of God."