John William Streets
Now And After - Poem by John William Streets
“Mother of England! why do you weep?”
“My heart's with the fate of my own dearest sons
Fighting for Freedom against modern Huns:
Prayerful, a watch o'er their spirits I keep:
I gave them up gladly, but Oh, how I pine,
To kiss and embrace them, laddies of mine!”
“Daughter of England! why do you grieve?”
“I think of my lover so tender and brave,
And there in my dreams I oft see a grave,
Until with its sadness my bosom doth heave.
I think of his manhood, I dream of his loss:
How hard 'tis to tread the way of the cross!”
“ Young boy of England! why do you cry?”
“ I once had a daddy so tall and so strong,
Who loved me and sang of his love in deep song;
Who often for me toys and sweeties would buy:
But why does my daddy not come back to me?
For though he's a soldier he must long for me!”
“Mother of England! do you regret
Giving your sons to die for their land?”
“No! while I freedom of life understand;
Not though my eyes with their memories are wet.
I'd give them again, my laddies so brave,
Tho' my Life's in their memory, and my heart's in their grave!”
“Daughter of England! do you recall
The night that you bade your fair lover go?”
“My lover a man was and had I said ‘No’
His sweetheart a woman you never could call.
I'm glad, as his features in memory I scan,
My love was a soldier, my love was a man!”
“Young lad of England! are you not glad
Your father did fight the terrible foe?”
“I'm proud with the mem'ry and sometimes I grow
In thought of his deeds with emotion half mad.
I wear, Sir, the V.C. (though dead) that he won:
'Twill keep me in honour, 'twill make me his son!”
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