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Alec de Candole

(1897-1918 / England)


I CANNOT argue out the rights and wrongs,
Who first this hideous force of war did move,
I only know my heart and spirit longs
To serve this England somehow which I love.
Shall it be ours to dwell where England's hills
Roll down in lonely places to the sea.
And hear the rushing waterfall that fills
The vale with music's deep profundity,
And shall not love compel us, whatsoe'er
This England asks, so beautiful, so great,
To do or suffer, and our end be there,
Not hating, though the foeman merit hate,
But simply glad to pay, if need, the price
Of so much beauty in life's sacrifice?

Life thus, perchance, is short ; but life is worth
More, if your home is England ; twenty years
Of living in the loveliest land on earth
Are better than an age where Afric sears
The soul with summer's fires, or Arctic cold
Numbs dead the very brain with wintry stress.
Yes, England, though thou listen to the bold
And braggart cries of folly and shamelessness,
Flinging rewards to those who ask reward.
Thy true sons love thee yet, and loathe the brood
Of cursed traitors. Free thyself, and guard
Thy noble heart unchanged, and ancient blood ;
Thee will we answer, not the blatant breath
Of knaves, but thy high call, to life or death.

Submitted: Saturday, September 25, 2010

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