The Great War

from A Crown of Amaranth, an electronic edition

Flower of Youth

LEST Heaven be thronged with greybeards hoary,

God, who made boys for His delight,

Stoops, in a day of grief and glory,

And calls them in, in from the night.

When they come trooping from the war

Our skies have many a new gold star.

Heaven's thronged with gay and careless faces,

New-waked from dreams of dreadful things.

They walk in green and pleasant places

And by the crystal water-springs

Who dreamt of dying and the slain,

And the fierce thirst and the strong pain.

Dear boys! They shall be young for ever:

The Son of God was once a boy.

They run and leap by a clear river,

And of their youth they have great joy.

God, who made boys so clean and good,

Smiles with the eyes of fatherhood.

Now Heaven is by the young invaded;

Their laughter's in the House of God.

Stainless and simple as He made it

God keeps the heart o' the boy unflawed.

The old wise Saints look on and smile,

They are so young and without guile.

Oh, if the sonless mothers weeping,

And widowed girls could see inside

The glory that hath them in keeping

Who went to the Great War and died,

They would rise and put their mourning off,

And say: "Thank God, he has enough!"