Alfred Austin

(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

Spartan Mothers - Poem by Alfred Austin

``One more embrace! Then, o'er the main,
And nobly play the soldier's part!''
Thus sounds, amid the martial strain,
The Spartan Mother's patriot heart.
She hides her woe,
She bids him go,
And tread the path his Fathers trod.
``Who dies for England, dies for God!''

In the husht night, she wakes, she weeps,
And listens for the far-off fray.
He scours the gorge, he scales the steeps,
Scatters the Foe,-away! away!
But feigned the flight!
Smite, again smite!
How fleet their steeds, how nimbly shod!
She kneels, she prays-``Protect him, God!''

Weep, tender souls. The sob, the tear,
The lonely prayer, the stifled wail,
These brace the will, these nerve the spear,
And speed him over veldt and vale.
What is to him
Or life or limb,
Who rends the chain and breaks the rod!
Who strikes for Freedom, strikes for God!

Should Heaven decree that he once more
Unscathed return to home and rest,
She will be standing at the door,
To fold him to her trembling breast.
Or, should he fall
By ridge or wall,
And lie 'neath some green southern sod,-
``Who dies for England, sleeps with God.''

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010

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