The Great War

from The Man Who Saw, an electronic edition

Das Volk

WE did but smile, beholding the o'erfraught

Sumpter, caparisoned and proud to appear

The snorting charger of a Cavalier

Whose joy was when his casque the sunbeam caught;

And half-amused we watched the packhorse taught

To caracole and curvet in the gear

Of battle, and bear, through an august career,

The paladin of a hundred fields unfought!

But when, full war-horse now, and plunging thus

About the innocent earth of France and Flanders,

He foams his fury's virulent overplus

On the ancient plains where rippling life meanders,

Not blameless quite, this new Bucephalus!

Not all the guilt, his would-be Alexander's!