The Great War

from Lest We Forget, an electronic edition


O Hell-sped fury War, with wings raised high

Hawk-like that hoverest to smite! --

How many eager now, stark-dead shall lie,

Ere thou hast flown thy fatal flight!

O sea of strife, whose armed hosts still come on,

Like wind-urged waves across the main! --

What throes must flesh endure ere thou sink down

In smoothly flowing Peace again!

O callous War! Cold-blooded game of death,

With men 'gainst men as foes arrayed, --

What pride of youth must yield life's precious breath

Ere to an end thy game be played!

O devastating, desolating War,

What dirges follow thee! what dearth

And blackened ruin, where thou goest, mar

The goodly pleasantness of Earth!