The Great War

from The Man Who Saw, an electronic edition

The Fourth of August, 1914

AT last we know you, War-lord. You, that flung

The gauntlet down, fling down the mask you wore,

Publish your heart, and let its pent hate pour,

You that had God for ever on your tongue.

We are old in war, and if in guile we are young,

Young also is the spirit that evermore

Burns in our bosom ev'n as heretofore,

Nor are these thews unbraced, these nerves unstrung.

We do not with God's name make impious play;

We are not on such easy terms with Heaven ;

But in Earth's hearing we can verily say,

"Our hands are pure; for peace, for peace we have striven ";

And not by Earth shall he be soon forgiven

Who lit the fire accurst that flames to-day.