Gone is now the boast of power,
Strength to strike our foes again,
God of battles in this hour
Give us strength to suffer pain.
Lest the spirit's chains be rent.
Lest the coward flesh go free
Unto thee our prayer is sent,
Death unseen beneath our feet.
Death above us in the sky,
Now before Thy judgment-seat
Grant us honourably to die.
Lustful, sinful, careless all.
In the martyr's road are we.
Lest from that high path we fall.
Men that mocked Thee to Thy face,
Fools who took Thy name in vain —
Grant that in this deadly place
Jests and blasphemy remain.
On the pallid face of death,
Gasping slow and painfully
Curses with its latest breath.
Where we see the men we know
Rags of broken flesh and bone,
And the thing that hurt them so
Seems to wait for us alone.
Where the silence of the grave
Broods and threatens soundlessly,
On the souls we cannot save,
Peace Upon Earth
Under the sky of battle, under the arch of the guns,
Where in a mad red torrent the river of fighting runs.
Where the shout of a strong man sounds no more than a broken groan,
And the heart of a man rejoicing stands up in its strength alone,
There in the hour of trial ; and when the battle is spent,
And we sit drinking together, laughing and well content.
Deep in my heart I am hearing a little still voice that sings,
' Well, but what will you do when there comes an end of these things ? '
Laughter, hard drinking and fighting, quarrels of friend and friend.
The eyes of the men that trust us, of all these there is an end.
No more in the raving barrage in one swift clamorous breath
We shall jest and curse together on the razor-edge of death.
Old days, old ways, old comrades, for ever and ever good-bye !
We shall walk no more in the twisted ways of the trenches, you and I,
For the nations have heard the tidings, they have sworn that wars shall cease,
And it's all one damned long Sunday walk down the straight , flat road of peace.
Yes, we shall be raptured again by the frock-coat's singular charm,
That goes so well with children and a loving wife on your arm,
Treading a road that is paved with family dinners and teas,
A sensible dull suburban road planted with decorous trees,
Till we come at last to the heaven our peaceable saints have trod,
Like the sort of church that our fathers built and called it a house of God,
And a God like a super-bishop in an apron and nice top-hat —
God, you are God of battles. Forbid that we come to that !
God, you are God of soldiers, merry and rough and kind,
Give to your sons an earth and a heaven more to our mind.
Meat and drink for the body, laughter and song for the soul,
And fighting and clean quick death to end and complete the whole.
Never a hope of heaven, never a fear of hell,
Only the knowledge that you are a soldier, and all is well,
And whether the end be death or a merrier life be given,
We shall have died in the pride of our youth — and that will be heaven.