The Great War

from Songs & Sonnets for England in War Time, an electronic edition

The War Cry

Grim the struggle we've to face!

Setting now our task about,

As becomes our name and race,

Grimly we must fight it out.

Not elated, not depressed,

Equanimity our rule;

Through all happenings self-possessed,

Silent, strong, determined, cool.

Came the challenge from the foe;

Naught we did to court this fight;

But since they will have it so,

Let them have -- what they invite.

For a Europe's flouted laws

We the sword reluctant drew,

Righteous in a righteous cause:

Britons, we must see it through.

Wooden walls once held these strands

Safe from every foe that came.

Times are changed; but now our land's

Iron walls shall do the same.

Times are changed -- our sailors, nay!

What their sea-sires were they are.

Drake's and Nelson's heart to-day

Beats in every British tar.

While they range the Northern deep,

Lies our sea-girt isle secure;

Britain's honour's theirs to keep

Trust we them to keep it sure.

What though random mine shall deal

Here and there its dastard blow,

They'll avenge each shattered keel

Twice, thrice over, on the foe.

Came the challenge from the foe;

Naught we did to court this fight;

But since they will have it so,

Let them have -- what they invite.

For a Europe's flouted laws

We the sword reluctant drew,

Righteous in a righteous cause:

Britons, we WILL see it through!

Truth, August 12, 1914