The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

Morituri Te Salutant

IN this last hour, before the bugles blare

The summons of the dawn, we turn again

To you, dear country, you whom unaware,

Through summer years of idle selfishness,

We still have loved--who loved us none the less,

Knowing the destined hour would find us men.

O thrill and laughter of the busy town!

O flower valleys, trees against the skies,

Wild moor and woodland, glade and sweeping down,

O land of our desire! like men asleep

We have let pass the years, nor felt you creep

So close into our hearts' dear sanctities.

So, we are dreamers; but our dreams are cast

Henceforward in a more heroic mold;

We have kept faith with our immortal past.

Knights--we have found the lady of our love;

Minstrels--have heard great harmonies above

The lyrics that enraptured us of old.

The dawn's aglow with luster of the sun

O love, O burning passion, that has made

Our day illustrious till its hours are done--

Fire our dull hearts, that, in our sun's eclipse,

When Death stoops low to kiss us on the lips,

He still may find us singing, unafraid.

One thing we know, that love so greatly spent ;

Dies not when lovers die: From hand to hand

We pass the torch and perish--well content,

If in dark years to come our countrymen

Feel the divine flame leap in them again,

And so remember us and understand.