The Great War

from More Songs By the Fighting Men, an electronic edition

Death in France

IF I should die while I am yet in France

Before the battle clouds have rolled away,

Give me to feel that death will but enhance

Life's secret vision on its passing day.

Grant then to me new, individual power

In reverie, whilst whimsically I trace

Thro' eager, breathless youth, each pulsing hour.

The light and shadow on its fading face.

And in death's soonest minute let me seek

Life heightened by new splendour, poise, surprise.

New colour flushing deep its paling cheek,

New wonder looking from its tired eyes.

Time's brought a rare patine to old Romance—

Death has an ancient dignity in France.

FRANCE, November, 1916.