The Great War

from Lest We Forget, an electronic edition

The Men Who Man.

The men who man our batteries,

The men who serve our guns,

They need not honeyed flatteries,

For they are Britain's sons!

They go, when Duty speeds them,

Wherever bullets fly;

Wherever England needs them,

When Duty bids, they die.

The men who man our strongholds,

Or march to yonder field

Where Valour against Wrong holds

A realm that scorns to yield,

From Chiltern Hills or Grampians

May pour their living tide,

But all are England's champions

And all are England's pride.

And, lo! how the abhorrence

Of sceptred crime can join

The Thames and the St. Lawrence,

The Liffey and the Boyne.

For England need but ask aid

Where'er her branches grow,

And like a leaping cascade

It thunders on the foe.

Our cheery sailors, lapt in

The maiden sea's light sleep,

From commodore and captain

To all who man the deep,

They hear around their bed nought

But echoes of their fame,

And well they man the Dreadnought

Who dread not aught but shame.

And whether calmly harboured,

Or when the rocking State

Lurches to port and starboard,

They sail the seas of Fate;

With everlasting laughter

They luff to wind and rain,

Aforetime and hereafter

The men who man the main.

The men who man Great Britain,

And fight for royal George,

On battle's anvil smitten

Leap mightier from the forge:

Like oaks in Orkney's rough spring

They flourish torn and blown,

For all are Honour's offspring

And all are England's own.

The men who man this nation,

And sow her fame abroad,

They ask not acclamation,

They need not England's laud;

And when too late it finds them,

And falls on lifeless ears,

Where yon red tempest blinds them

They need but England's tears.

Yet, while the storm grows vaster

Around them and above,

In triumph or disaster

They shall not lack our love --

They who to Glory's fanning

This streamer have unfurled,

The men whose joy is manning,

The men who man the world!