The Great War

from A Crown of Amaranth, an electronic edition

Lieut. John Richardson."
1893-1915
Killed in Action

THINE was no pedant's zeal: the Mother-tongue

Taught thee high dictates of thy Fatherland,

The call no patriot-heart can e'er withstand

Tore thee from lays by ancient poets sung.

Well didst thou learn the lore, to thee endear'd,

Of that young warrior who with dragons fought

And conquer'd-steadfast, selfless, unafear'd

"Better is Death than Life with self-scorn fraught."

Not less thy courage, though thy scholar-soul

Illum'd thy trench with mystic runes-the hope

That solac'd in his plight our oldest ScôÙp

Whose song is wrought on Britain's golden scroll.

No greater meed wouldst thou, no prouder fame:

In "Albion's England" is enshrined thy name!

(The Observer

Notes

(Student of English at King's College; he left unfinished a thesis on "Albion's England "-.the Elizabethan patriotic poem-in preparation for M.A. degree of the University. When recovering from a previous wound, he asked that his copy of the Old English epic "Beowulf " might be sent him from home. The refrain from the oldest English lyric " Deor's Lament," which may be rendered, " O'er that he triumphed, o'er this may I " was chalked by him in Old English on the wall of his trench.)