The Great War

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

Redemption

As though Youth had not all the best, this day

Offers him one excelling best-of-all, --

The glorious summons of a trumpet-call

To prove his manhood in man's noblest fray;

To be with those who fight at last to slay

That ancient despot, War. Whate'er befall,

His is a prize so rich as to forestall

The invidious years and venom of decay.

No fruitless age shall he regret who pays

Thus timely his arrears to Motherland

And humankind, ensuing Earth's desire;

Who stakes his else immemorable days

And wins his life back, holy from Death's hand,

Redeemed in one brief ecstasy of fire!

Times, August 26, 1914