The ancient and the lovely land
Is sown with death; across the plain
Ungarnered now the orchards stand,
The Maxim nestles in the grain,
The shrapnel spreads a stinging flail
Where pallid nuns the cloister trod,
The airship spills her leaden hail;
But–after all the battles–God.
Athwart the vineyard's ordered banks,
Silent the red rent forms recline,
And from their stark and speechless ranks
There flows a richer, ruddier wine;
While down the lane and through the wall
The victors writhe upon the sod,
Nor heed the onward bugle call;
But–after all the bugles–God.
By night the blazing cities flare
Like mushroom torches in the sky;
The rocking ramparts tremble ere
The sullen cannon boom reply,
And shattered is the temple spire,
The vestment trampled on the clod,
And every altar black with fire;
But–after all the altars–God.
And all the prizes we have won
Are buried in a deadly dust;
The things we set our hearts upon
Beneath the stricken earth are thrust;
Again the Savage greets the sun,
Again his feet, with fury shod,
Across a world in anguish run;
But–after all the anguish–God.
The grim campaign, the gun, the sword,
The quick volcano from the sea,
The honour that reveres the word,
The sacrifice, the agony–
These be our heritage and pride,
Till the last despot kiss the rod,
And, with man's freedom purified,
We mark–behind our triumph–God.