The Great War

from The Holy War, an electronic edition

The Convent Garden

The Convent garden lies so near

The road the people go,

If it was quiet you might hear

The nuns' talk, merry and low.

Black London trees have made their screen

From folk who pry and peer,

The sooty sparrows now begin

Their talk of country cheer.

And round and round by twos and threes

The nuns walk, praying still

For fighting men across the seas

Who die to save them ill.

From the dear prison of her choice

The young nun's thoughts are far;

She muses on the golden boys

At all the Fronts of War.

Now from her narrow Convent house

She sees where great ships be,

And plucks the robe of God, her Spouse,

To give the victory.

Under her robe her heart's a-beat,

Her maiden pulses stir,

At sound of marching in the street,

To think they die for her!

And now beneath the veil and hood

Her hidden eyes will glow,

The battle ardour's in her blood --

If she might strike one blow!

And when she sleeps at last perchance

Her soul hath slipped away

To fields of Serbia and of France

Until the dawn of day.

She wanders by the still moonbeam

By dying and by dead,

And many a broken man will dream

An angel lifts his head.

All day and night as a sweet smoke

Her prayer ascends the skies

That all her piteous fighting folk

May walk in Paradise.

And still her innocent pulses stir,

Her heart is proud and high,

To think that men should die for her --

And the marching feet go by.