The Great War

from The Holy War, an electronic edition


To the Immortal Tenth (Irish) Division

Suvla, name of bitterness,

Myrrh and aloes in the mouth,

Salt as Dead Sea water is!

All that splendour, all that youth,

All that nobleness! Oh, waste

Of the dearest, loveliest!

Sands of Suvla, scarlet-dyed,

Where the Cross is down in shame

And the Crescent flaunts its pride!

Was it for this they went aflame,

The young shining sons we nursed,

For the fire and the fierce thirst?

Suvla, that is holy ground

Sown so thick with martyr's seed:

There's no Christ now, but Mahound,

Now the Prophet and his breed

Hold the hill, their glorious grave,

Where they died but could not save.

Savage sun and brassy sky,

Rocks from which no waters sprung,

Was it for this we gave to die

All our beautiful, our young

Dear dead darlings sacrificed?

Thou, -- wilt Thou repay, Lord Christ?