The Great War

from The Man Who Saw, an electronic edition

The Three Alfreds1

THREE Alfreds let us honour. Him who drove

His foes before the tempest of his blade

At Ethandune--him first, the all-glorious Shade,

The care-crowned King whose host with Guthrum strove.

Next--though a thousand years asunder clove

These twain--a lord of realms serenely swayed;

Victoria's golden warbler, him who made

Verse such as Virgil for Augustus wove.

Last--neither King nor bard, but just a man

Who, in the very whirlwind of our woe,

From midnight till the laggard dawn began,

Cried ceaseless, " Give us shells--more shells," and so

Saved England; saved her not less truly than

Her hero of heroes saved her long ago.

Notes

1. Friends have asked the author not to re-publish this sonnet. He does so because he believes it to be the truth.