The Great War

from A Crown of Amaranth, an electronic edition

On the Rue Du Bois

O PALLID Christ within this broken shrine,

Not those torn Hands and not that Heartof Thine

Have given the nations blood to drink like wine.

Through weary years and 'neath the changing skies,

Men turned their back on those appealing Eyes

And scorned as vain Thine awful Sacrifice.

Kings with their armies, children in their play,

Have passed unheeding down this shell-ploughed way,

The great world knew not where its true strengthlay.

In pomp and luxury, in lust of gold,

in selfish ease, in pleasures manifold,

"Evil is good, good evil," we were told.

Yet here, where nightly the great flare-lights gleam,

And murder stalks triumphant in their beam,

The world has wakened from its empty dream.

At last, O Christ, in this strange, darkened land,

Where ruined homes lie round on every hand,

Life's deeper truths men come to understand.

For lonely graves along the countryside,

Where sleep those brave hearts who for others died,

Tell of life's union with the Crucified.

And new light kindles in the mourner's eyes,

Like day-dawn breaking through the rifted skies,

For Life is born of life's self-sacrifice.

(The Times>

Notes

(A distinguished officer writes from the British Headquarters in France :-" I venture to send you these beautiful lines, written by Canon F. G. Scott, of Quebec, who is doing duty with the 3rd Brigade of the Canadian Division, and whose impressions which brought about the writing of these lines were gained from actual experiences in the trenches. It seems to me that such words as these should be be made known to the public, for apart from their intrinsic beauty they are full of comfort to those who are sorely stricken in this terrible war.")