Richard Le Gallienne

(1866-1947 / England)

The Silk-Hat Soldier - Poem by Richard Le Gallienne

I saw him in a picture, and I felt I'd like to cry--
He stood in line,
The man 'for mine,'
A tall silk-hatted 'guy'--
Right on the call,
Silk hat and all,
He'd hurried to the cry--
For he loves England well enough for England to die.

I've seen King Harry's helmet in the Abbey hanging high--
The one he wore
At Agincourt;
But braver to my eye
That city toff
Too keen to doff
His stove-pipe--bless him--why?
For he loves England well enough for England to die.

And other fellows in that line had come too on the fly,
Their joys and toys,
Brave English boys,
For good and all put by;
O you brave best,
Teach all the rest
How pure the heart and high
When one loves England well enough for England to die.

One threw his cricket-bat aside, one left the ink to dry;
All peace and play
He's put away,
And bid his love good-bye--
O mother mine!
O sweetheart mine!
No man of yours am I--
If I love not England well enough for England to die.

I guess it strikes a chill somewhere, the bravest won't deny,
All that you love,
Away to shove,
And set your teeth to die;
But better dead,
When all is said,
Than lapped in peace to lie--
If we love not England well enough for England to die.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010



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