The Great War

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

Queen Alexandra Day


MOTHER-QUEEN, Mother-Queen,

How has thou heard, how hast thou seen

Thy people's woe?

Are there not golden bars between

The high and low?

How hast thou heard? How hast thou seen?

How dost thou know?

What can our lowly sorrow mean

To one so high?

Though thou listen, and though thou lean,

Down from the sky,

Thou canst not tell our sorrow and teen,

Nor hear us sigh.


Throned afar,

On a golden star,

How canst thou guess

What sore distress,

And cold, and hunger, and weeping are?

Were it not better to shut thine eyes

To things beneath thee, and far-away?

Why shouldst thou listen for distant sighs?

'Tis thine to praise, and 'tis theirs to pray;

Thou art a Queen by the Grace of God,

And the height is high, and the gulf is broad.



Art mother of all the land;

Hast heard and seen,

Canst pity and understand;

And in thy motherly compassion now,

We half forget the crown upon thy brow

And come to thee like children. Queen most fair,

Mother most wise and good,

These garlands of wild roses everywhere

Have bound us in the bonds of brotherhood ;--

Hast brought not only to the hungry food

And solace to Despair,

Hast made us see that even on a throne

Pity and Love are beautifully shown,

And that a queen

Is ne'er more queenly seen

Than when she cometh down to comfort care.


Thy voice is like the bugle-voice of dawn--

The orison

Of many birds and rivers, and thine eyes

Are like the morning beauty of the skies.

Love dawns in thee--sunlight, and song, and dew,

Ideals morning-wise

And morning-true;

Love dawns in thee, and hearts of men awake

To worship Love even for Beauty's sake.

In every heart thy Love and Beauty stir

Beauty and Love. Thou art the harbinger

Of charity, and truth.

Like pinions of an Angel Beautiful

Rippling the peace of a Bethesda pool,

To healing of the people is thy hand

Moving our pity. Mother of the land,

Because thou lovest thou dost understand.