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Title: A Gloucestershire Lad at Home and Abroad
Author: Harvey, F. W. (Frederick William)
Language: English
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A Gloucestershire Lad

[Illustration]



  A
  Gloucestershire Lad
  at Home and Abroad

  by
  F. W. Harvey

  [Illustration]

  _Fourth Impression_

  London
  Sidgwick & Jackson, Ltd.
  1917



  _First Impression, September 1916._
  _Second Impression, October 1916._
  _Third Impression, January 1917._
  _Fourth Impression, March 1917._

  _All rights reserved._



  TO
  ALL COMRADES OF MINE
  WHO LIE DEAD IN FOREIGN FIELDS
  FOR LOVE OF ENGLAND,
  OR WHO LIVE TO PROSECUTE THE WAR
  FOR ANOTHER ENGLAND



PREFACE


Most of these poems were written at the Front, and appeared in the
_Fifth Gloucester Gazette_--the first paper ever published from the
trenches.

The author was then a Lance-Corporal in the 5th Battalion of the
Gloucestershire Regiment, and as such gained the Distinguished Conduct
Medal in August, 1915.

The award appears as follows in the _London Gazette_--

  F. W. HARVEY.--“For conspicuous gallantry on the night of the 3rd-4th
  August, 1915, near Hebuterne, when, with a patrol, he and another
  Non-Commissioned Officer went out to reconnoitre in the direction
  of a suspected listening post. In advancing they encountered the
  hostile post evidently covering a working party in the rear. Corporal
  Knight at once shot one of the enemy, and, with Lance-Corporal
  Harvey, rushed the post, shooting two others, and assistance arriving
  the enemy fled. Lance-Corporal Harvey pursued, felling one of the
  retreating Germans with a bludgeon. He seized him, but finding his
  revolver empty and the enemy having opened fire, he was called back
  by Corporal Knight, and the prisoner escaped. Three Germans were
  killed and their rifles and a Mauser pistol were brought in. The
  patrol had no loss.”

The poems are written by a soldier and reflect a soldier’s outlook.
Mud, blood and khaki are rather conspicuously absent. They are, in
fact, the last things a soldier wishes to think or talk about.

What he does think of is his home.

Bishop Frodsham, preaching in Gloucester Cathedral, after visiting
the Troops in France, quoted the following poem in a passage which
admirably expresses the feelings of most of our fighting men.

“To suppose that these men enjoy the fighting would be sheer nonsense.
The soldier does not want to go on killing and maiming Germans or
Turks. He wants to get the dreadful war finished, so that he can get
back to England again. But he wants the matter fought to a finish
because he has seen in the villages and towns of France what German
domination means. It has made him think furiously, as the French say.
Many regiments and ships’ companies while away the impracticable hours
by publishing little newspapers.

“The _Fifth Gloucester Gazette_ is one of these journals. We are proud
of the courage and the gaiety these little papers show. We laugh at
their quips and jokes: then suddenly we find that the corners of our
mouths are quivering and the tears are gathering in our eyes. We see
that the boys are thinking about England below their gaiety. One young
poet lifts the veil in this exquisite little rondeau--

  “‘If we return, will England be
  Just England still to you and me--
  The place where we must earn our bread?
  We who have walked among the dead,
  And watched the smile of agony,
  And seen the price of liberty,
  Which we have taken carelessly
  From other hands. Nay, we shall dread:
      If we return,
  Dread lest we hold blood-guiltily
  The thing that men have died to free.
  Our English fields shall blossom red
  In all the blood that has been shed,
  By men whose guardians are we,
      If we return.’”

That is perhaps the keynote of a book which the author has dedicated to
all dead and living comrades who have loved England.

                                          J. H. COLLETT, C.M.G., COLONEL

                                   Commanding the Fifth Battalion of the
                                     Gloucestershire Regiment in France.



CONTENTS


                                             PAGE

  PREFACE BY COLONEL J. H. COLLETT, C.M.G.    vii

  _In Flanders_                                xv

  A SONG OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE                     1

  BALLADE OF THE RICH HEART                     3

  SONG OF MINSTERWORTH PERRY                    5

  A GLOUCESTERSHIRE WISH AT EASTERTIDE          6

  SONG OF THE ROAD                              7

  PIPER’S WOOD                                  8

  BALLADE OF RIVER SAILING                      9

  SONG OF MINSTERWORTH                         11

  CRICKET: THE CATCH                           13

  WONDERS                                      14

  TRIOLET                                      15

  TRIOLET                                      16

  WHAT GOD SAID                                17

  TO HIS MAID                                  18

  BALLADE OF DAMNABLE THINGS                   19

  SONG OF HEALTH                               21

  GRATITUDE                                    22

  THE SOLDIER SPEAKS                           23

  A PRESENT FROM FLANDERS                      24

  IF WE RETURN                                 25

  A PEOPLE RENEWED                             26

  THE AWAKENING                                27

  THE RETURN                                   28

  LAND OF HEART’S DELIGHT                      29

  GONNEHEM                                     30

  THE REST FARM                                31

  BALLADE OF BEELZEBUB, GOD OF FLIES           32

  TO THE KAISER                                34

  ROBERT HERRICK SOLILOQUIZES ON THE C.O.      36

  THE THREE PADRES                             37

  WALT WHITMAN DESCRIBES MAJOR W.              38

  SERGEANT FINCH                               39

  C COMPANY COOK                               40

  EPITAPH                                      41

  SONNET                                       42

  THE FIRST SPRING DAY                         43

  DEFIANCE                                     45

  THE ORCHARDS, THE SEA, AND THE GUNS          46

  DYING IN SPRING                              47

  VICTORY                                      48

  DEATH THE REVEALER                           49

  F. W. H.                                     50

  POETRY                                       51

  PROSE POEMS--

      1. HEAVEN                                52

      2. THE MOTH                              53

      3. THE ARTIST                            54

      4. THE WINDOW GLASS                      55

      5. IN THE FIELD OF TIME                  56

      6. BLUE GRASS                            57

      7. THE POET                              58

      8. SORROW                                59

      9. THE MIRACLE                           60

     10. FAITH                                 61

     11. TIME--THE HORSE                       62

     12. THE REBUILDING OF REALITY             63

     13. THE TOKEN                             64



_IN FLANDERS_


  _I’m homesick for my hills again--
      My hills again!
  To see above the Severn plain
  Unscabbarded against the sky
  The blue high blade of Cotswold lie;
  The giant clouds go royally
  By jagged Malvern with a train
  Of shadows. Where the land is low
  Like a huge imprisoning O
  I hear a heart that’s sound and high,
  I hear the heart within me cry:
  “I’m homesick for my hills again--
      My hills again!
  Cotswold or Malvern, sun or rain!
      My hills again!”_



A SONG OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE

(_Dedicated to the Gloucestershire Society_)


  _North, South, East, and West:
  Think of whichever you love the best.
  Forest and vale and high blue hill:
  You may have whichever you will,
  And quaff one cup to the love o’ your soul
  Before we drink to the lovely whole._

    Here are high hills with towns all stone,
      (Did you come from the Cotswolds then?)
    And an architecture all their own,
      And a breed of sturdy men.

    But here’s a forest old and stern,
      (Say, do you know the Wye?)
    Where sunlight dapples green miles of fern,
      A river wandering by.

    Here’s peaceful meadow-land and kine,
      (Do you see a fair grey tower?)
    Where sweet together close entwine
      Grass, clover, and daisy flower.

    Here stretches the land toward the sea
      (Behold the castle bold!)
    Where men live out life merrily,
      And die merry and old.

  _North, South, East, and West:
  Think of whichever you love the best.
  Forest and vale and high blue hill:
  You shall have whichever you will,
  To quaff one cup to the love o’ your soul
  Before we drink to the lovely whole._



BALLADE OF THE RICH HEART


  What thief is he can rob this treasury,
    Which hath not gold but dreams within its gates?
  What power can enter in to take from me
    My treasure, while upon the threshold waits
    “Courage,” my watch-dog, keeping back the fates
  Which follow close until I do depart
    In safety from their little loves and hates?
  Singing of all I carry in my heart.

  Guarded of dreams against all evil chance,
    With young Adventure arm in arm I go
  To laugh at Luck and silly Circumstance.
    And, counting naught that comes to me my foe,
    I change, if ’tis my whim, the winter snow
  To blowing blossom: and by that same art
    I fashion as I will Life’s weal and woe:
  Singing of all I carry in my heart.

  Let me go lame and lousy like a tramp
    But feel the wind and know the moonlit sky!
  What matter if the falling dew be damp--
    Still is it dew! And well contented I
    Among my dreams (in seeming poverty)
  Far from the cities and the noisy mart,--
    With Life and Death--my dearest friends--to lie,
  Singing of all I carry in my heart.


_Envoi._

  Prince of this world, high monarch of all those
    Who deem Reality life’s better part,
  Herewith I tweak thy crooked royal nose--
    Singing of all I carry in my heart.



SONG OF MINSTERWORTH PERRY


  When Noe went sailing with his crew
    And waters covered over the earth,
  Trees that in Eden-orchard grew
    Got washed away to Minsterworth.

  Now every year they bloom again,
    (All of the trees spread healthy root)
  And after Summer’s shine and rain
    We gather up the blessed fruit;

  Whereof we get a heavenly drink
    (Two rather!) for to make us merry;
  Oh! Cider’s one, and I do think
    The name o’ t’other one is Perry!



A GLOUCESTERSHIRE WISH AT EASTERTIDE


  Here’s luck, my lads, while Birdlip Hill is steep:--
  --As long as Cotswold’s high or Severn’s deep.
  Our thoughts of you shall blossom and abide
  While blow the orchards about Severn side:--
  --While a round bubble like the children blow,
  May Hill floats purple in the sunset glow.

  Our prayers go up to bless you where you lie,
  While Gloucester tower stands up against the sky
  To write old thoughts of loveliness, and trace
  Dead men’s long living will to give God praise:--
  --Who of His mercy doth His Own Son give
  This blessed morn, that you, and all, may live!



SONG OF THE ROAD


  Cheerily upon the road
    Tramp we all together,
  Bearing every one his load
    Through the changeful weather.

  To one Hope we all belong,
    To one Fate a debtor,
  Songs must cheer our steps along,
    Mirth the road make better.

  Wishes cannot make a horse,
    Only beggars would ride;
  We must meet the fairy force
    In each sombre wood-side.

  We must bravely tread the way,
    Gaily sing together,
  Till we reach the endless day,
    Heaven’s golden weather.



PIPER’S WOOD


  In Minsterworth when March is in,
    And Spring begins to gild the days,
  Oh! then starts up a joyous din,
    For Piper’s Wood is full of praise,
  Because the birds deem winter gone
  And welcome the returning sun.

  Blackbird and thrush and robin dear
    Within that wood try over all
  The songs they mean to shout so clear
    Before green leaves grow red and fall;
  And harkening in its shadows you
  Must needs sing out of Summer too.



BALLADE OF RIVER SAILING


  _The Dorothy_ was very small: a boat
    Scarce any bigger than the sort one rows
  With oars! We got her for a five-pound note
    At second-hand. Yet when the river flows
    Strong to the sea, and the wind lightly blows,
  Then see her dancing on the tide, and you’ll
    Swear she’s the prettiest little craft that goes
  Up-stream from Framilode to Bollopool.

  Bare-footed, push her from the bank afloat,
    (The soft warm mud comes squelching through your toes!)
  Scramble aboard: then find an antidote
    For every care a jaded spirit knows:
    While round the boat the broken water crows
  With laughter, casting pretty ridicule
    On human life and all its little woes,
  Up-stream from Framilode to Bollopool.

  How shall I tell you what the sunset wrote
    Upon the outspread waters--gold and rose:
  Or how the white sail of our little boat
    Looks on a summer sky? The hills enclose
    With blue solemnity: each white scar shows
  Clear on the quarried Cotteswolds high and cool.
    And high and cool a fevered spirit grows
  Up-stream from Framilode to Bollopool.


_Envoi._

  Prince, you have horses: motors, I suppose,
    As well! At finding pleasure you’re no fool.
  But have you got a little boat that blows
    Up-stream from Framilode to Bollopool?



SONG OF MINSTERWORTH

  _Air_: “_The Vicar of Bray_”


  In olden, olden centuries
    On Gloucester’s holy ground, sir,
  The monks did pray and chant all day,
    And grow exceeding round, sir;
  And here’s the reason that they throve
    To praise their pleasant fortune,
  “We keep our beasts”--thus quoth the priests,
    “In Minsterworth--that’s Mortune!”[1]

      _So this is the chorus we will sing,
        And this is the spot we’ll drink to,
      While blossom blows and Severn flows,
        And Earth has mugs to clink to._

  Oh! there in sleepy Summer sounds
    The drowsy drone of bees, sir,
  And there in Winter paints the sun
    His patterns ’neath the trees, sir;
  And there with merry song doth run
    A river full of fish, sir,
  That Thursday sees upon the flood
    And Friday on the dish, sir.

      _So this is the chorus we will sing
        And this is the spot we’ll drink to,
      While blossom blows and Severn flows,
        And Earth has mugs to clink to._

  The jovial priests to dust are gone,
    We cannot hear their singing;
  But still their merry chorus-song
    From newer lips runs ringing.
  And we who drink the sunny air
    And see the blossoms drifting,
  Will sit and sing the self-same thing
    Until the roof we’re lifting.

      _So this is the chorus we will sing,
        And this is the spot we’ll drink to,
      While blossom blows and Severn flows,
        And Earth has mugs to clink to._

[1] The ancient name of the parish was Mortune--that is, the village
in the mere; and the name was changed to Minsterworth early in the
fourteenth century because it belonged to the Minster or Abbey of
Gloucester, and was the Minster’s “Worth” or farm where the cattle were
kept.--F. W. H.



CRICKET: THE CATCH


  Whizzing, fierce, it came
    Down the summer air,
  Burning like a flame
    On my fingers bare,
  And it brought to me
  As swift--a memory.

  Happy days long dead
    Clear I saw once more.
  Childhood that is fled:--
    Rossall on the shore,
  Where the sea sobs wild
  Like a homesick child.

  Oh, the blue bird’s fled!
    Never man can follow.
  Yet at times instead
    Comes this scarlet swallow,
  Bearing on its wings
    (Where it skims and dips,
    Gleaming through the slips)
  Sweet Time-strangled things.



WONDERS


  What magic is in common grass
  To bring this miracle to pass?
  That within it one should find
  Salves to give him peace of mind?
  --It’s very queer that garden weed
  Should minister to my soul’s need.

  What fairy in the falling rain
  Takes the robin’s small refrain,
  And twists it to a tiny charm
  To keep a tempted heart from harm?
  --It puzzles me a wild bird’s song
  Should save my soul from doing wrong.



TRIOLET


  If Beauty were a mortal thing
    That died like laughter, grief, and lust,
  The poet would not need to sing.
  If Beauty were a mortal thing
  It would not wound us with its sting.
    We should lie happy in the dust
  If Beauty were a mortal thing
    That died like laughter, grief, and lust.



TRIOLET


  Winter has hardened all the ground,
    But flowers are on the window-pane;
  No others are there to be found:--
  Winter has hardened all the ground.
  But here, while Earth is bare and bound,
    Bloom ghosts of those his frost has slain.
  Winter has hardened all the ground,
    But flowers are on the window-pane.



WHAT GOD SAID


  “This be a lesson,” said Life, with a frown--
    And knocked me down.
  “And serve him right!” cried the goodly men,
  While I--I picked myself up, and then
  Went on just as I used to do.

  But the good God smiled as He shook His head;
    “It’s a troublesome child,” said He, “but yet
  Not quite so altogether dead
    As those solemn old fools that laughed. Don’t fret!”
  At least, I think that’s what He said.



TO HIS MAID


  Since above Time, upon Eternity
    The lovely essence of true loving’s set,
  Time shall not triumph over you and me,
    Nor--though we pay his debt--
  Shall Death hold mastery.

  Your eyes are bright for ever. Your dark hair
    Holds an eternal shade. Like a bright sword
  Shall flame the vision of your strange sweet ways,
    Cleaving the years: and even your smallest word,
  Lying forgotten with the things that were,
  Shall glow and kindle, burning up the days.



BALLADE OF DAMNABLE THINGS


  I do not like a horse to throw me off.
    I do not like the motor-bike to skid.
  I do not like a nasty hacking cough,
    Nor influenza. And I never did
    Enjoy the thought of frizzling on a grid,
  The while wee flaming devils dance and sing.
    But short of simple Hell without the lid,
  I think that jaundice is the damn’dest thing.

  Fleas, faintness, famine, stomach-ache, the feel
    Of flies upon your face, rats in your bed;
  Lice, dusty roads, a blister on your heel,
    The taste of salts, the scent of things long dead,
    Home-sickness, chilblains, grief uncomforted,
  A hollow tooth with cold, a hornet sting:--
    These are unpleasant, yet when all is said
  I think that jaundice is the damn’dest thing.

  See you the whole bright world before your eye
    Dwindle as ugly as a wrinkled pea.
  See Beauty, a pricked bubble: Truth, a lie:
    Achievement, foam on muddy water. See
    Yourself a yellow devil suddenly,
  And all the zest of youth gone journeying--
    See you all this, and then you will agree
  (I think) that jaundice is the damn’dest thing.


_Envoi._

  Prince of the damned--I ransack my supplies
    To find a fitting wish at you to fling.
  Now may you look on Hell through yellow eyes.
    I think that jaundice is the damn’dest thing.



SONG OF HEALTH


  For friends to stand beside, for foes to fight,
  For devil’s work to break, for Wrong and Right,
  And will (however hard) to choose between them:
  For merry tales, no matter where you glean them:
  Songs, stars, delight of birds, and summer roses,
  Sunshine, wherein my friend the dog now dozes:
  Danger--the zest of life, and Love, the lord
  Of Life and Death: for every open word
  Spoken in blame or praise by friend o’ mine
  To spur me on: for old, good memories,
  Keeping in my soul’s cellar like good wine:
  For Truth that’s strong, and Beauty so divine:
  For animals, and children, and for trees,
  Both wintry-black and blossoming in white:
  For homely gardens and for humming bees:
  For drink, and dreams, and daisies on the sod,
  Plain food, and fire (when it will light)--
                                  Thank God!



GRATITUDE


      Grateful--ah, yes!
  I, who have seen
  The larches brighten green,
      The orchard’s Easter dress,
  And those red thousand poppies,
  In wheat below the coppice:

  I, who (while others lie in graves
  Of earth, or rocked with waves),
      Have leave to walk
      And sing and talk,
  With golden lads and girls,
      My friends,
      To all the farthest ends,
  Whither Life whirls....

  How can I not feel gratitude for this
      And other bliss,
  Which God--dear God--hath sent,
  For my great wonderment?



THE SOLDIER SPEAKS


  Within my heart I safely keep,
    England, what things are yours:
  Your clouds, and cloud-like flocks of sheep
    That drift o’er windy moors.
  Possessing naught, I proudly hold
    Great hills and little gay
  Hill-towns set black on sunrise-gold
    At breaking of the day.

  Though unto me you be austere
    And loveless, darling land;
  Though you be cold and hard, my dear,
    And will not understand.
  Yet have I fought and bled for you,
    And, by that self-same sign,
  Still must I love you, yearn to you,
    England--how truly mine!



A PRESENT FROM FLANDERS


  Where dewfall and the moon
  Make precious things,
  On every small festoon
  A spider slings:

  Treading--like dead leaves under
  All drifted days,
  Happy the lovers wander
  In Winter ways;

  No thought of pain perplexes
  The peace they hold;
  No worldly sorrow vexes
  The lovers. Gold--

  All golden gleams the way;
  How strange such riches
  Drawn from rough men should be
  Seven or eight worlds away,
  Fighting, and carelessly,
  Dying in ditches!



IF WE RETURN

(_Rondeau_)


  If we return, will England be
  Just England still to you and me?
  The place where we must earn our bread?
  We, who have walked among the dead.
  And watched the smile of agony,

    And seen the price of Liberty,
    Which we have taken carelessly
    From other hands. Nay, we shall dread,
                      If we return,

    Dread lest we hold blood-guiltily
    The things that men have died to free.
    Oh, English fields shall blossom red
    For all the blood that has been shed
    By men whose guardians are we,
                      If we return.



A PEOPLE RENEWED


  Now these like men shall live,
    And like to princes fall.
  They take what Fate will give
    At this great festival.

  And since at length they find
    That life is sweet indeed,
  They cast it on the wind
    To serve their country’s need.

  See young “Adventure” there
    (“Make-money-quick” that was)
  Hurls down his gods that were
    For Honour and the Cross!

  Old “Grab-at-Gold” lies low
    In Flanders. And again
  (Because men will it so)
    England is ruled by Men.



THE AWAKENING


  At night, in dream,
  I saw those fields round home
        Agleam.
  Drenched all with dew
  Beneath day’s newest dome
        Of gold and blue.

  All night--
  All night they shone for me, and then
        Came light.
  And suddenly I woke, and lovely joy!
  I was at home, with the fields gold as when
        I was a boy.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Thus shall all men rise up at last to see,
  Their dearest dreams golden reality.



THE RETURN


  The unimaginable hour
    That folds away our joys and pain
  Holds not the spirit in its power.
    Therefore I shall come home again
  (Wherever my poor body lies),
    To whisper in the summer trees
  Upon a lazy fall and rise
  Of wind: and in day’s red decline
  Walk with the sun those roads of mine,
    Then rosy with my memories.

  Though you may see me not, yet hear
    My laughter in the laughing streams,
    My footsteps in the running rain....
  For sake of all I counted dear
    And visit still within my dreams
    I shall at last come home again.



LAND OF HEART’S DELIGHT


  Glory’s a temple open wide,
    Content, a little shrine.
  But Heart’s Delight is a land so bright
    We reckon it half divine.
  It lies wherever man has lived,
    But wheresoe’er you find it
  Its skies are blue with dreams come true,
    And Heaven is just behind it.

  Glory’s the universal gleam
    Of all God gives to men.
  Content, the little silver dream
    He sends to one in ten.
  But Heart’s Delight, all golden bright,
    Is given to him alone
  Who has hidden his heart in the deepest part
    Of a place called Home.



GONNEHEM


  Of Gonnehem it shall be said
  That we arrived there late and worn
  With marching, and were given a bed
  Of lovely straw. And then at morn
  On rising from deep sleep saw dangle--
  Shining in the sun to spangle,
  The all-blue heaven--branch loads of red
  Bright cherries which we bought to eat,
  Dew-wet, dawn-cool, and sunny-sweet.
  There was a tiny court-yard too,
  Wherein one shady walnut grew.
  Unruffled peace the farm encloses--
  I wonder if beneath that tree,
  The meditating hens still be.
  Are the white walls now gay with roses?
  Does the small fountain yet run free?
  I wonder if that dog still dozes....
  Some day we must go back to see.



THE REST FARM


  Into this quiet place
    Of peace we come.
  The War God hides his face,
    His mouth is dumb.

  All reckless, wild decrees
    His lips repeat,
  Are hushed by a little breeze
    In waving wheat.

  And, like the penance-peace
    In a heart forlorn,
  Thrills the word of the trees--
    The sigh of the corn.



BALLADE OF BEELZEBUB, GOD OF FLIES


  Some men there are will not abide a rat
    Within their bivvy. If one chance to peep
  At them through little beady eyes, then pat,
    They throw a boot and rouse a mate from sleep
    To hunt the thing, and on its head they heap
  Curses quite inappropriate to its size.
    I care for none of these, but broad and deep
  I curse Beelzebub--the God of Flies.

  Others may hunt the mouse with bayonet bright,
    And beard the glittering beetle in his lair,
  And fill the arches of the ancient night
    With clamour, if a stolid toad should stare
    Sleepily forth from the snug corner where
  They fain would rest. But I will sympathize
    With beetle, rat, and toad. I have no care.
  I curse Beelzebub--the God of Flies.

  The tiny gnats they swarm in many a cloud,
    To tangle their small limbs within my hair
  And sting. The blood-flies dart: and buzzing loud
    Blue-bottles draw mad patterns on the air.
    The house-flies creep, and, what is hard to bear,
  Feed on the poison papers advertise,
    And rub their hands with relish of such fare!
  I curse Beelzebub--the God of Flies.


_Envoi._

  Prince--Clown of Europe--others shall make haste
    To call damnation on your limbs and eyes.
  Spending good oaths upon you were a waste:
    I curse Beelzebub--the God of Flies.



TO THE KAISER

(_Confidentially_)


  I met a man--a refugee,
    And he was blind in both his eyes, sir.
  And in his pate
    A silver plate
  (’Twas rather comical to see!)
    Shone where the bone skull used to be
  Before your shrapnel struck him, Kaiser.
    Shattering in the self-same blast
  (Blind as a tyrant in his dotage),
    The foolish wife
  Who risked her life,
    As peasants will do till the last,
  Clinging to one small Belgian cottage.

  That was their home. The whining child
  Beside him in the railway carriage
  Was born there, and
    The little land
  Around it (now untilled and wild),
    Was brought him by his wife on marriage.
  The child was whining for its mother,
    And interrupting half he said, sir.
  I’ll never see the pair again....
    Nor they the mother that lies dead, sir.

  That’s all--a foolish tale, not worth
    The ear of noble lord or Kaiser.
  A man un-named,
    By shrapnel maimed,
  Wife slain, home levelled to the earth--
    That’s all. You see no point? Nor I, sir.
  Yet on the day you come to die, sir,
    When all your war dreams cease to be,
  Perchance will rise
    Before your eyes
  (Piercing your hollow heart, Sir Kaiser!)
    The picture that I chanced to see,
  Riding (we’ll say) from A to B.



ROBERT HERRICK SOLILOQUIZES ON THE C.O.


  A sweet disorder in the dress
  Kindles in him small kindliness.
  My slack puttees him oft have thrown
  Into a fine distraction.
  An erring lace he cannot bear,
  Nor the neglected, flowing hair.
  Did he command that splendid force
  The W.V.T.C., of course,
  He’d see they dressed with careful art,
  Very precise in every part.
  And would, I’m certain, never dote
  On the tempestuous petticoat.



THE THREE PADRES

(_Acrostics_)


  _R. C. Chaplain._

      Pale-faced, brown-eyed, slight,
          Upon a lanky bay
      Rides this modern knight
          Down rain-beat road to-day;
      In a little broken shrine
      Emptying out the blessed wine.


  _Wesleyan Chaplain._

      Much loved by all who know you,
          Especially you seem
      Envied for smiles that show you
          Kindness in a gleam.


  _Church of England Chaplain._

      Helm of our literary ship,
          Editor of this Gazette,[2]
      Luck be yours, although you whip
          My muse into an awful sweat.

[2] _Fifth Gloucester Gazette._ See Introduction.



WALT WHITMAN DESCRIBES MAJOR W.


  Nonchalantly he stands
  On every step of life
  Tapping his legging.

  It is just the same
  Whether we’re expecting
  A Boche attack
  Or Church Parade.

  Nothing flusters him. Men
  Confidently go
  To do his bidding:
  While he stands there

  Revolving stunts;
  And nonchalantly
  Tapping his legging.



SERGEANT FINCH


  He’s a popular sergeant, you bet,
    For he’ll rough it along with his men,
  And start up a song in the wet
    To set ’em all smiling again.

  His stories are naughty, I’m told,
    His voice has a sonorous sound;
  But the envy of all who behold
    Is the way that his puttees are wound.

  Blue-eyed, debonair, with a hat
    Cocked sideways the eighth of an inch,
  He’s sparrow-like: but for all that
    The name in his pay-book is Finch.



C COMPANY COOK


  “Do you want j-jam on it?” he’d say,
    Twirling a red moustache.
  We chaffed him over rations every day,
    “Say, is this tea or hash?”
  “Jim, tell us, do,
  Why you put sugar in the blooming stew.”
  “--And there’s a heap o’ coal in this--not half!...”
    To all our chaff
  “Do you want j-jam on it?” he’d say.



EPITAPH

(_T. D._, 13/3/16)


  A shallow trench for one so tall!
  “Heads down”--no need for that old call
    Beneath the upturned sod.
  Safe lies his body, never fret,
  Behind that crumpled parapet,
  And over all this wind and wet
    His soul sits safe with God.



SONNET

(_To H. M._)


  Him, the gods, loving, took while life was young....
  Say rather (clinging to a wiser creed)
  God took, and suddenly on wings of speed
  Bore to the utter quietness far flung
  Of fields Elysian where the horrid tongue
  Of battle is not. For He knew his need
  Better than those who knew him well indeed,
  Loving him best. Above his grave is rung
  The death-bell of all things which hurt the sense
  And vex the mind and plague the soul of man,
  Tingeing the rainbow colours of his best
  Dreams drably: and hath cried a voice, “Go hence!
  Old Angel Time, to weary whom you can,
  The while my well-beloved child hath rest.”



THE FIRST SPRING DAY

(_To A. E. S._)


  We laid you fast in frozen clay
  When Winter had enchained the land.
  (Lad, was it but three weeks to-day?)
  And now comes Springtime’s messenger with golden tidings in his hand.

  A mist blows off the thawing earth,
  And drips from every budding tree,
  The springs are loosed, and mad with mirth
  Run lisping in the fallen leaves, or laughing in the sunlight free.

  Oh you who loved the song so well,
  Do you not hear the throstle’s note?
  Nor heed the lovesome light that fell
  As warm five thousand years ago, when Solomon, the wise king, wrote?

  “Sweet,” wrote he. Yes, the light is sweet!
  And maddening sweet to walk in Spring:
  Yet is the pleasure incomplete--
  How should the living understand the melodies that dead throats sing?

  Thinker and poet clutch in vain
  The secret of a laughing rill,
  And Shakespeare’s self could never gain
  The message blown so mockingly by trumpet of a daffodil.

  Dear lad, for you I will not call,
  Nor let a foolish dread be born.
  A thousand years is still too small
  To learn the secrets you must learn, ere you arise on Doomsday morn.

  For you have set your ear to earth
  To list the growing of the flowers:
  And catch the strains of Death and Birth:
  And take the honey that is stored by all the flitting bee-like hours.

  And you must put to memory
  The silver music of the stars
  That raineth down so silently,
  And all the mighty harmony scrolled on the sky in glittering bars.

  The music that no man can make,
  The colours that he cannot see,
  These out of darkness you shall take
  And nourish up your growing soul with manna of their mystery.

  And then when you awake again
  (And I have slept a little too),
  How we shall rise to pace anew
  An earth--where every dream is true, and nothing is unknown but pain.



DEFIANCE


  I saw the orchards whitening
  To Easter in late Lent.
  Now struck of hell’s own lightning
  With branches broken and bent
  Behold the tall trees rent:--
  Beaten with iron rain!
  And ever in my brain
  To every shell that’s sent
  Sounds back this small refrain:--
  “You foolish shells, come kill me,
  Blacken my limbs with flame:
  I saw the English orchards
  (And so may die content)
  All white before I came!”



THE ORCHARDS, THE SEA, AND THE GUNS


  Of sounds which haunt me, these
        Until I die
  Shall live. First the trees,
  Swaying and singing in the moonless night.
  (The wind being wild)
        And I
  A wakeful child,
  That lay and shivered with a strange delight.

  Second--less sweet but thrilling as the first--
    The midnight roar
    Of waves upon the shore
    Of Rossall dear:
    The rhythmic surge and burst
    (The gusty rain
    Flung on the pane!)
    I loved to hear.

    And now another sound
    Wilder than wind or sea,
    When on the silent night
      I hear resound
      In mad delight
      The guns....
    They bark the whole night through;
      And though I fear,
      Knowing what work they do,
    I somehow thrill to hear.



DYING IN SPRING


  Lo, now do I behold
  Sunshine and greenery
  And Death together rolled--
  Yet not in mockery.

  Life was a faithful friend;
  Shall I make other of that dark brother
  Whom God doth send?

  My dear companions--you
  That have been more to me
  Than grief or gaiety--
  This sure is true:
  That we shall meet once more beyond Death’s door,
  Again be merry friends
  Where friendship never ends.



VICTORY


  Whether you shall see it, or I,
  We cannot tell
  Now. And it doesn’t matter.

  For ’twill come when Hell
  Is covered, and the batter
  Of guns fades:--Victory!

  Remember then, you who have fellowed the dead--
  Though the worst loudest last
  Thunder before the sun--

  Remember--though the Hun
  And his brute power has passed--
  There are more wars to be won!

  Oh! while life’s Life, to all Eternity:--
  Brothers, press on! Go On To VICTORY!



DEATH THE REVEALER


  Within this dim five-windowed house of sense
      I watch through coloured glass
    The shapes that pass.
  Soon must I journey hence
  To meet the great winds of the outer world,
      And see
    (When God has turned the key)
  The true and terrible colours of His scheme
      Which now I dream.



F. W. H.

(_A Portrait_)


  A thick-set, dark-haired, dreamy little man,
      Uncouth to see,
  Revolving ever this preposterous plan--
  Within a web of words spread cunningly
  To tangle Life--no less,
  (Could he expect success!)

  Of Life, he craves not much, except to watch.
      Being forced to act,
  He walks behind himself, as if to catch
  The motive:--an accessory to the fact,
  Faintly amused, it seems,
  Behind his dreams.

  Yet hath he loved the vision of this world,
      And found it good:
  The Faith, the fight ’neath Freedom’s flag unfurled,
  The friends, the fun, the army-brotherhood.
  But faery-crazed or worse
  He twists it all to verse!



POETRY


  The poems of Earth are lived,
    Not scratched with the dirty pen.
  They are writ in the sense of things
    And sung in the hearts of men.

  Sensuous strains of Spring
    Pouring in silver flood,
  Summer’s golden delight
    Warming the waiting blood.

  Colour, and scent, and sound
    Of all the changing year:--
  These are the poems of Earth
    Which every man must hear.

  Sorrow, and pain, and love,
    Joy, and fear, and regret:--
  These are the burning poems
    That all our hearts beget.

  These are the poems of Earth
    That every man must pen:
  Which you and I make up
    And straight forget again.



PROSE POEMS


1. HEAVEN

“Take me, then,” he said to the angel, “upon this great journey to
Heaven.”

The angel touched his eyelids.

“Where, then, is Hell?” asked the man.

The spirit pointed out a bored-looking man quite near the throne.

“But he is in Heaven,” protested the mortal.

“Even so, but he does not know it,” replied the angel.


2. THE MOTH

“It is the brightness of God!” exclaimed the moth, beholding the candle.

“But it will scorch you worse than Hell’s fire,” warned a friendly
insect.

“What matter that?” shouted the moth. “It is the brightness of God!”

Then it flew into the flame and was shrivelled.


3. THE ARTIST

“I am tired of failing!” said the Artist, and he ripped up the picture
with his penknife.

“Now he will remember my love!” thought the woman, and she smiled. But
when the Artist saw the smile on her face, he took his brushes and made
a picture of it, and the love of the woman was forgotten.


4. THE WINDOW GLASS

Against the dark glass shone like a flower the mouth of his beloved.
But in vain he pressed lips of fire upon the panes--in vain!

“Then, since Love may not melt,” cried he, “shatter, O Death!”

God broke the window with His fist.


5. IN THE FIELD OF TIME

In the field of Time, at the end of the path of daisies, grow flaming
poppies, taking the eye more readily than the flowers of gold and white.

But a man, looking at some he had plucked to wear, discovered (formed
by the inside shape and hue of the petals) a black cross at the bottom
of every scarlet cup, and cast them from him.


6. BLUE GRASS

“Is not this the mountain of blue grass?” asked the stranger. “Why is
the grass as green as in our common meadows?”

“It was never any other colour,” said the native.

“It looked blue from afar,” protested the traveller, “and I have
journeyed a long and difficult way to find it.”

“You had better have stayed at home,” answered the native.

“No,” returned the stranger, with a sad smile, “I had better have come,
but now I will go home. The grass there has become blue.”


7. THE POET

“What is that lovely thing you have in your heart? Why do you not sing
of it?” asked the Muse.

“I have not yet lost it,” answered the Poet.


8. SORROW

The lean dagger had gone into the Poet’s heart.

Shuddering, he plucked it free, lest he should die. And then--by
magic--it became in his hand a shining sword fit to smite down the
sorrow of the world.


9. THE MIRACLE

Why has the Earth taken on a new significance?

Why is the smoking mist now white music, and the world’s architecture
more wonderful than a fine cathedral?

It is something that has happened in your heart.

Perhaps (I do not know) you have learnt to hate yourself or to love a
fellow-being.


10. FAITH

  Why am I so many men?
  It is because you have not Faith.

  What is Faith?
  Faith is a fire.

  But how does a man come by it?
  Perhaps God gives it him.


11. TIME--THE HORSE

Whither does Time trot us? And is moonlight brightening the harness
buckles as when children play beneath the rugs, guessing “Where are
we?” and father drives home--home--beneath the stars?


12. THE REBUILDING OF REALITY

“Behold the sunshine, the green earth, the shining sea!” shouted my
Eyes.

Said Heart: “Oh, I cannot; the realities I knew are gone! Death’s
shadow is upon all this.”

“Well, it is yours to create realities anew,” smiled Death. “Hitherto
(like the rest) you seem to have done it badly.”


13. THE TOKEN

Because of you I am insatiably curious about death.

Because of Him who imagined and made you I am able tranquilly to abide
the time.

Shrivelled in His glory: scorched by His humour: because He has
imagined and made you, I trust and am sure.



  PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED.
  BRUNSWICK ST., STAMFORD ST., S.E., AND BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.



TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE:


  Italicized text is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.




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