The Great War

from Poems of the Great War, an electronic edition

The Broken Rose

To King Albert

Shy, youthful, silent -- and misunderstood

In the white glare of Kinghood thou didst stand.

The sceptre in thy hand

Seemed but a flower the Fates had tossed to thee,

And thou wert called, perchance half-scornfully,

Albert the Good.

To-day thou standest on a blackened grave,

Thy broken sword still lifted to the skies.

Thy pure and fearless eyes

Gaze into Death's grim visage unappalled

And by the storm-swept nations thou art called Albert the Brave.

Tossed on a blood-red sea of rage and hate

The frenzied world rolls forward to its doom.

But high above the gloom

Flashes the fulgent beacon of thy fame,

The nations thou hast saved exalt thy name --

Albert the Great!

Albert the good, the brave, the great, thy land

Lies at thy feet, a crushed and morient rose

Trampled and desecrated by thy foes.

One day a greater Belgium will be born,

But what of this dead Belgium wracked and torn?

What of this rose flung out upon the sand?...

Behold! Afar where sky and waters meet

A white-robed Figure walketh on the sea.

(Peace goes before Him and her face is sweet.)

As once He trod the waves of Galilee

He comes again the tumult sinks to rest,

The stormy waters shine beneath His feet.

He sees the dead rose lying in the sand,

He lifts the dead rose in His holy hand

And lays it at His breast.

O broken rose of Belgium, thou art blest!