The Great War

from War: an Ode And Other Poems, an electronic edition

In Memory of Major William La Touche Congreve, V.C.

" The best always befalls the best."

--Quotation from letter of his tutor at Eton.

ONLY the best can e'er the best befall,

Unto the best, the worst must best reveal;

And though he felt the rent Earth rock and reel,

And through the loathly yellow poison-pall

Heard thunder to reboant thunder call,

And glimpsed the flickering of bloody steel,

Yet Faith he had to know that wounds may heal,

And Love he had that could transfigure all,

To his own Spirit's Beauty. So his sword,

Put to such terrible and poignant test

In slaughterous tasks his human heart abhorred,

Seemed in his eyes God's Justice manifest.

And of all glorious fates, the fate seemed best

To die for Freedom, England, and his Lord.