The Great War

from Herb o' Grace, an electronic edition

The Secret Foe

When now to battle he shall ride,

The bravest of the brave,

Joan the Maid be by his side

And Michael, quick to save.

Not against man's most fell device

The shell, the gas, the mine;

These he shall meet with steady eyes

And courage half-divine.

Oh, not the gaping wounds and red

And not the tortured sense,

And not the dying and the dead

And his own impotence.

But when the joy of battle faints

And his hot blood grows chill,

Be near him, all ye soldier saints,

Lest Satan work him ill!

Lest in the hour of his great fight

This foe should him assail,

The enemy that creeps by night

Strike through his coat of mail.

Sebastian of the arrows, haste,

Michael and the White Maid,

Lest in his splendid hour, at last,

The soldier be afraid.