The Great War

from Lest We Forget, an electronic edition

To the Memory


Field-Marshal Earl Roberts

of Kandahar and Pretoria.

[Born, 1832. Died on service at the Front, November 141h, 1914.]

He died, as soldiers die, amid the strife,

Mindful of England in his latest prayer;

God, of His love, would have so fair a life

Crowned with a death as fair.

He might not lead the battle as of old,

But, as of old, among his own he went,

Breathing a faith that never once grew cold,

A courage still unspent.

So was his end; and, in that hour, across

The face of War a wind of silence blew,

And bitterest foes paid tribute to the loss

Of a great heart and true.

But we who loved him, what have we to lay

For sign of worship on his warrior-bier?

What homage, could his lips but speak to-day,

Would he have held most dear?

Not grief, as for a life untimely reft;

Not vain regret for counsel given in vain;

Not pride of that high record he has left,

Peerless and pure of stain;

But service of our lives to keep her free,

The land he served; a pledge above his grave

To give her even such a gift as he,

The soul of loyalty, gave.

That oath we plight, as now the trumpets swell

His requiem, and the men-at-arms stand mute,

And through the mist the guns he loved so well

Thunder a last salute!


[Born, 1832. Died on service at the Front, November 141h, 1914.]