The Great War

from A Calendar of Verse, an electronic edition

Edith Cavell

The world hath its own dead; great motions start

In human breasts, and make for them a place

In that hushed sanctuary of the race

Where every day men come, kneel, and depart.

Of them, O English nurse, henceforth thou art,

A name to pray on, and to all a face

Of household consecration; such His grace

Whose universal dwelling is the heart.

O gentle hands that soothed the soldier's brow,

And knew no service save of Christ the Lord!

Thy country now is all humanity!

How like a flower thy womanhood doth show

In the harsh scything of the German sword,

And beautifies the world that saw it die!