The Great War

from The Poems of Robert W. Sterling, an electronic edition


In Memory of R. W. Sterling

As if Apollo's self had swept the strings,

From Isis' banks came one clear burst of song,

So sad, so noble, beautiful and strong,

Poised through its flight on such majestic wings,

It might not seem a youth's imaginings,

But to an Attic age might well belong,

Or be the flower of that Miltonian throng

That for dead Lycidas sobs, and sobbing sings.

O brave Boy-Poet, who, at Duty's call,

Laid down thy lyre, thy chaplet cast aside

To don the armour of a sterner day;

Who scorned the lures that held thy heart in thrall:

Sped down Parnassus with a warrior's pride

To meet thy death in dark Thermopylae!