The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

A Chant of Love for England

A song of hate is a song of Hell;

Some there be that sing it well.

Let them sing it loud and long,

We lift our hearts in a loftier song:

We lift our hearts to Heaven above,

Singing the glory of her we love, --


Glory of thought and glory of deed,

Glory of Hampden and Runnymede;

Glory of ships that sought far goals,

Glory of swords and glory of souls!

Glory of songs mounting as birds,

Glory immortal of magical words;

Glory of Milton, glory of Nelson,

Tragical glory of Gordon and Scott;

Glory of Shelley, glory of Sidney,

Glory transcendent that perishes not, --

Hers is the story, hers be the glory,


Shatter her beauteous breast ye may;

The spirit of England none can slay!

Dash the bomb on the dome of Paul's --

Deem ye the fame of the Admiral falls?

Pry the stone from the chancel floor, --

Dream ye that Shakespeare shall live no more?

Where is the giant shot that kills

Wordsworth walking the old green hills?

Trample the red rose on the ground, --

Keats is Beauty while earth spins round!

Bind her, grind her, burn her with fire,

Cast her ashes into the sea, --

She shall escape, she shall aspire,

She shall arise to make men free:

She shall arise in a sacred scorn,

Lighting the lives that are yet unborn;

Spirit supernal, Splendour eternal,