The Great War

from Songs & Sonnets for England in War Time, an electronic edition


Surgeon her, world! Let myriad scalpels bright

Flash in her sores with all thy bitter might,

So that their aching cease.

Cut clean the cursed canker that doth foul

Her spirit; tent and cleanse her sorry soul,

And give her bosom peace.

We do not smite a nation, but a pest;

Humanity makes reasonable quest

To free a noble slave.

Full deep she groans and faints, and fainting feels

Archaic torture of a tyrant's heels

Grinding her to her grave.

Possessed of devils now, mad with her woes,

She wounds the world and turns her friends to foes;

But cast her devils down

And broken, humbled, contrite, healed and sane

Oh may she shine her glorious self again --

Pearl in Europa's crown.

And they accurs'd, who bred this in her heart,

Shall from the councils of mankind depart,

While over sea and shore,

The silver trumpets of the sunrise cry

That earth pursue her solemn destiny

By blood and iron no more.

Daily Chronicle, August 17, 1914