The Great War

from The Man Who Saw, an electronic edition

Our Men

OUR men, they are our stronghold,

Our bastioned wall unscaled,

Who, against Hate and Wrong, hold

This Realm that never quailed ;

Who bear the noblest burden

Life lays on shoulders broad,

Asking not fame or guerdon,

Asking not gold or laud.

They go where England speeds them ;

They laugh and jest at Fate.

They go where England needs them,

And dream not they are great,

And oft,'mid smoke and smother

By blinding warstorm fanned,

Sons of our mighty Mother,

They fall that she may stand.

Our sailors, save when sleeping

The light sleep of the sea,

Their ancient watch are keeping,

Mother, for thine and thee!

They guard thy maiden daughters

From worse than death or pain ;

The men who ward the waters,

The men who man the main.

When navies meet and wrestle,

And their vast arms strike home--

Vessel with monstrous vessel

Matched on the flame-lit foam--

What fleet returns in glory ?

What fleet makes haste to fly ?

O Sea, that knowest our story,

Thou, thou canst best reply !

Then hail to all who gave us

Their might of arm and soul,

Hot and athirst to save us,

To heal, and keep us whole ;

Whether they serve where yonder

Far-burrowing trenches run,

Or where the ocean thunder

Peals with the thundering gun.