The Great War

from War: an Ode And Other Poems, an electronic edition

General Booth

OUT of the slums

Wild music comes,

The pipe of flutes, the boom of drums,

And down the street strange banners flare.

What means this noise? What means this blare?

This clash of song, this crash of prayer?

What mean these mingled tears and flame?

This glory on the face of shame?

It is the Army of the Lord,

It is the clashing of His sword,

It is His axe's merry din,

Upon the brazen casque of sin.

Out of the slums

Sad music comes,

Low mournful flutes, and muffled drums,

God's greatest warrior is dead.

The fearless fighting-man who led

The Army 'gainst the hordes of Wrong

With crash of prayer and clash of song,

Lies silent in the fosse of Death,

With stiffened limbs and frozen breath.

Out of the slums.

Glad music comes,

Exultant flutes, triumphant drums.

He is not dead; he layeth down

His sword and cross to take his crown.

He is not dead; his dauntless will

Will lead his faithful army still.

His drums will boom, his flags will flare,

His flutes will pipe, his trumpets blare,

Till in the shadow of the slums

Love's banner flies, God's Kingdom comes.