Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets
Echoes of the Great War
18th Jul 2016Posted in: Edwardian and Georgian Canadian Poets 0

ECHOES

OF THE

GREAT WAR

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PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR
FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION

 

Signed and Numbered Edition
Limited to 250 Copies

 

This Copy is No. 96

PRESENTED TO

[handwritten: Ottawa “Journal”]

With the Compliments of:

[handwritten: Paul M Daym]

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ECHOES
OF THE
GREAT WAR

By

SAMUEL MATHEWSON BAYLIS
Author of “Comp and Lamp,” “At the Sign of the Beaver,”
“Shake-Speare, An Enquiry,” Etc.


ARRANGED IN CHRONOLICAL ORDER
OF COMPOSITION


1914 – – – 1918

MONTREAL
THE WITNESS PRESS
1919

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To Our Little Soldier.

1890 — H. M. B. — 1915.

Courageous, loyal, gentle, loving, true,
   Perforce is he to knightly service vowed,
   Adventuring all, undaunted and unbowed,
Even unto the end—and such were you.

Not ‘mid the wreckage of lone, shell-torn plain,
   With farewell note, and volleyed requiem,
   Where fell death-stars cold midnight heavens gem,
And never-silent guns their fierce hail rain—

But ‘neath the maples of their crested hill—
   Too-early called in Life’s out-budding years
   By the swift summons that the soldier hears—
She sleeps, fair bride-to-be, yet “Baby” still.

Lily and Rose their mingled fragrance blend—
   Badge of high courage and sweet purity—
   In comrade-tribute laid, all-reverently,
At the tired feet come to their journey’s end.

Perchance there be a purpose undiscerned—
   Some ministry to those bruised souls who sped
   So swiftly on, that they be comforted
In that strange bourne whose secrets she has learned.

Tho’ dim eyes fain would glimpse the loved, lost face,
   And yearning arms reach to the voiceless night,
   Shall vain, rebellious grief stay her glad flight
To farthest worlds circling in boundless space! [page VII]

Mayhap her brooding spirit shall descend
   One day, to comfort, hearten and uplift,
   And, homeward-winging, bear in loving gift
These feeble lines to her dear memory penned.

S. M. B.

NOVEMBER, 1918. [page VIII]

CONTENTS


Page
DEDICATION: TO OUR LITTLE SOLDIER November, 1918 VII.
I.
AUT CAESAR AUT NULLUS September, 1914 1
II.
CAIN September, 1914 5
III.
MARCHING IN KHAKI September, 1914 7
IV.
THE PRICE May, 1915 8
V.
THE CRUSADERS July, 1915 10
VI.
THE BEAVER AND THE EAGLE September, 1915 11
VII.
ANY MOTHER’S SON December, 1916 13
VIII.
JUDAS January, 1917 14
IX.
OUR GOLDEN NORTHLAND September, 1917 16
X.
THE DOOM OF LUCIFER October, 1917 18
XI.
RESURGAM February, 1918 21
XII.
HIS NUMBER April, 1918 22
XIII.
THOROUGHBRED April, 1918 24
XIV.
WITH WREATHS OF VICTORY October, 1918 25
XV.
TO HIM THAT OVERCOMETH October, 1918 27
XVI.
AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM October, 1918 28
ENVOY November, 1918 32

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I.

Aut Cæsar Aut Nullus.

Hell’s legions have been loosed, and vauntingly,
With all the fury of a War-lord scorned,
He, impiously invoking Heaven’s aid,
Hurls his battalions ‘gainst th’ embattled ranks
Of outraged Peoples risen in their might
To “curb this cruel devil of his will,”
Who dreams of Empire held in simple fee,
And subject millions kneeling at his feet.

Proud, vain, obsessed, he ploughs his ruthless way
Through peaceful, unoffending fields;
And peasant’s humble cot and storied town
Suffer alike the devastating toll
Of fire, and pillage of their treasured gods,
And fouler insult in their faces flung
Of the torn fragments of the Covenant
Valued but lightly as a statesman’s jest.

Unseen, unheeded by War-reddened eye,
That force, o’er-matching his, which silently
Stirs in the hearts of men to greatly dare.
And wakes the slumbering old-time chivalry
To valorous deeds in succour of the weak
Moaning their plant beneath a tyrant’s thrall!

What boots it, if in disappointed rage,
And Berserk fury balked of easy prey,
The War-bemusèd dragon bares his teeth [page 1]

And chokes with reddened claw the rising cheer
Throated from patriot breasts all-valiantly
Fronting the fiend, defiant of all law
Of Earth or Heaven or Hell, so lust be fed?

The olden law that he who buys must pay
Still runs where men do meet in strife or trade,
And payment full doth Nemesis exact
When Her indisputable writ is served
In stern foreclosure of the heaped-up debt!

Her moving finger beckons, and there flows
The mighty, vast, on-rolling Northern host;
And from the East, strong-limbed, in grim array,
The Little People of the Rising Sun—
Rejoicing in their new-found liberty—
Haste to avenge foul menace to the free.

From her siesta in the Sunny South,
Where Liberty is bred, Italia wakes
To hear the double-headed Eagles scream
In shrill defiance o’er her mountain tops,
And girds herself, enleagued by sea and land
To speed the downfall of the Sabred Brute.
And though, my England; by our Shakespeare sung—
Thou little Isle set in a silver sea,
That is both wall to thee and strong defence
Kept by the Warders of the Outer Gates—
What hap to thee although the Nations rage
And fain would make their unsought quarrel thine? [page 2]

Hail to thee! Mother, who didst scorn to hold
Thy plighted friendship at a chapman’s price—
Thine Honor but a diplomatic phrase—
Thy Bond but paper to be torn at will
Or weakly cancelled at a despot’s nod!

Thy far-borne sons haste to thy wind-blown call:
Thy Henry’s little “band of brothers” stand
Shoulder to shoulder with their erstwhile foes,
And Agincourt’s proud tale is told again.
Swift to their aid, o’er all they seven seas.
From veldt and hill and plain and busy mart,
Grim-visaged, white or bronzed, bearded or brown.
Their pasture’s mettle proved in heart and thew,
They come to stand beside thee on “The Day”
Toasted at ringing boards by belted foes
That witness their doom, not thine!

And when the purple dawn of that fair “day”
Breaks through the mists of groans and blood and tears,
And hellish clamor of foul War is stilled,
And the staid Wise Men of the Nations meet
To fair apportion each their equal dole,
And Brute is silent while the People speak—
Stand thou, my England! and thy sons with thee,
Thine ancient honor still thy dearest charge,
Scornful of pelf, but with the open hand
Proffered in friendship and a lasting pact
With brothers cheated to believe thee foe,
That they, and all who call thee friend, may be
Rivals in Service for the Good of Men. [page 3]

Then—as the chorus of the churning screws
Echoes the myriad-voicèd toilers’ song
Hummed by the loom, the reaper, and the forge,
And the fleet coursers of the heaving deep.
Choked with the burden of the Peoples’ toil,
Pass to and fro upon their unstayed way,
In satisfaction of the Peoples’ need—
Thy Poets’ dreams bid fair to come to pass,
And Prophets’ visions prove the Living Word,
When men their swords shall into ploughshares beat
And Banded Peoples rule for Law and Peace!

SEPTEMBER, 1914. [page 4]

II.

Cain.

“What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth out to Me from the ground. And now are thou cursed from the earth which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand.”—Genesis iv, 8-15.

I.

What caves of Earth or caverns deep in Hell
Have hid thee all these eon-lagging years
Since on thy brow in stern requital fell,
Swift from Almighty hand, the brand that sears
Thy doom to wander with thy dogging fears,
Lest man should find thee and too-kindly slay
As thou didst kill, despite the ban that rears
‘Twixt thee and all who would thus swiftly stay
The fate that drives thee on thy never-ending way.

II.

Fiends of the Pit have gripped thy blood-red hand
And armed thee once again with dripping knife,
And all they Hell-born, smouldering hate have fanned
Into mad rage against thy brother’s life,
And leagued thee in new fratricidal strife
With Envy, Murder, Greed, devils whose names
Are one with thine, and all the air is rife
With shouts of war, and roar of hissing flames,
And the fair Earth is foul with thy Heaven-reeking shames. [page 5]

III.

On! eyer on, to thy appointed hour,
Thy primal Sin o’er-heaped ten-thousand-fold:
Shorn of they pomp, stripped of thy puny power,
Plaining thy doom pronounced on thee of old,
Th’ undying worm, the fire that ne’er grows cold
Pursuing thee, from thy high place dethroned,
Who may’st not purchase death for price untold,
Nor ease thy punishment not yet atoned.
Banned, vagrant fugitive by God and men disowned!

SEPTEMBER, 1914. [page 6]

III.

Marching in Khaki.

Adapted from and sung to air of “Marching Through Georgia.”

Hear the British bugles ring again their old-time song,
Hear the answering cheer that sweeps the thin brown line along,
And the mighty chorus voiced from throats a million strong,
     As we came marching in Khaki!
Chorus:
     Hurrah! “the day”! the year of jubilee,
     Hurrah! “the day”! that sees the world set free!
     Hear the challenge ringing from the trenches to the sea,
       As we come marching in Khaki!
How the haughty Prussian laughed to hear the cheering sound
Of glasses clinking to “The Day” each ringing board around—
But his “day” is coming swift along the trembling ground
     As we come marching in Khaki!

Chorus:

French’s “puny army” cannot bar us from the coast,
In his pride the foe has said and made his scornful boast,
But he has forgotten quite to reckon with a HOST,
   As we come marching in Khaki!

Chorus:

Written by request for and printed in the “Soldier’s Song Book,” distributed to the Canadian Troops at the cost of Mr. Southam. 1914-1915. [page 7]

IV.

The Price.

Cheers for the gallant deed,

Throated full-voiced across the guarded seas
Unto the farthest rim of the wide Bond,
Re-echoing back to the red, stricken field
Where fared the maple-crested, elder-born,
To stand embattled with the Brotherhood
For all that men hold of the highest worth
Against that which all who are men contemn,
Hazarding valor to the supreme test
And gaining sweetest praise to those who strive—
                                                              Brother, well done!

Toll for the honored dead,

Who parted from us these short moons agone
All debonair, vibrant with life and song,
And consecration to their high emprise;
Nor recked that Life were price too high to pay
That we and all the world might live in peace.
‘Neath alien skies they lie in stranger earth;
But from that hallowed ground there yet shall spring
Rare flowers of healing for the world’s unease.
Ye gallant souls! whom foolish men call dead,
Ye have but passed the portal into Life
By that swift going we would envy ye,
Leaving a name and chastened memory
As inspiration from those dauntless ones
                                                              Who nobly fall.

[page 8]

Woe on that coming day!

When pinioned treachery and murder stand
Confronting not the baleful eye of hate
But that of calm and even Justice bent
In stern reproval of an awful deed
And balanced weighing of the evidence
Writ with a brother’s bloody by culprit hand,
Witnessed and signed in attestation plain
That may not be denied as valueless,
Or brushed aside as but a paper jest.
Nor shall the plea of dire necessity
Nor protestation false of self-defence
Avail when that dread Court shall judgement give
In condemnation of the criminal
                                                              To pay the price.

May, 1915. [page 9]

V.

The Crusaders.

As knight of old fared on his high emprise
   Questing the Grail, or ’gainst the Infidel
    Fouling the Holy Shrine all-dauntless fell,
Or, victor, guerdon sought in Beauty’s eyes—
So these, whose vows of consecration rise
   To the arched vault, and, Heaven-ascending, swell
   The tumult of chorale and pealing bell,
While the crowd’s plaudits rend the leaning skies.
 As he in fealty of the knightly gage,
    Knees his long vigil on the chancel stones.
        His soul all-shrived, his sword nor stain nor rust—
 So ye, with courage high, who fain would wage
    Grim conflict to avenge those slaughtered bones,
       Pray ye be holden in your sacred trust!

JULY, 1915. [page 10]

VI.

The Beaver and the Eagle.

What dost thou here in Flanders
    At the Sign of the Cock and Bull,
Thou moon-faced imp with the tawny coat
    Wrought of neither hide nor wool?
The Tribes are afoot on the long Red Trail,
    Their war-drums rattle nor cease,
The smoke of their fires dims the noon-tide sun,
    Hie back to thy Lodge on the Peace!

What dost thou here in Flanders,
    Foul bird of the èbon wing,
Who kinship would’st claim with a Royal Line!—
    Thou art naught but a carrion thing!
Ensanguined thy claws, and they cruel beak
    Drips red from the harried fold—
Save for this do thy breed foregather in clouds.
    As our wise men have said of old.

What do I here in Flanders?—
     By right of my might do I fly,
And foray and range as it liketh me,
    For King of the Air am I!
I ravage and seize as my will doth list
   And none shall deny me nor stay;
Poor impotent, who would’st dare question my right—
   Beware, lest thou, too, be my prey! [page 11]

For that am I here in Flanders,
    With my friends of the Lands afar—
The Golden Reefs of the Cloud-capped Mount,
    And the Isles of the Clustered Star.
For the men of this Land are a kindly folk,
    And their tongue hath a tang all my own,
And their cry to avenge thy broken Truce
    To our ears the Four Winds have blown.

Away with thy Truce of Flanders,
    And thy puny friends of the Wild!
Thinkest insolent flaunting of pinion and paw
    Have me frighted or weakly beguiled?
Nor the speed nor the leap of they antic kin,
    Nor the sweep of thy paddle’s stroke,
Shall avail as ye scurry before my swoop
    Thro’ the reek of the battle-smoke!

Repent ye thy Rape of Flanders!—
    For the Clans of the Lion and Bear
And the Goat of the Hills, and the Fox of the Vines,
    And the wolf from his desert lair,
In a Pact with us for the Truce of the Bond,
    Have given their plighted gage
To brand thy foul deed in age-long shame,
    And thee and thy brood encage!

SEPTEMBER, 1915. [page 12]

VII.

Any Mother’s Son.

With love and pride her gallant lad she speeds
     Forth to the terror of uncharted ways,
     Telling her rosary of lagging days
Till her fond kiss may seal his laurelled deeds:
Now, brimming-eyed, the far-flashed tidings reads
     How the last flame-borne Call him to upraise
     In service high he, unappalled, obeys,
Winging from alien sod to fairer meads.
     Not cureless grief; for him no rebel tears—
         That son, who, dead, yet ever lives acclaimed
            And, deathless, shrined by us for whom he died:
 But pity measureless adown the years
      For her’s who needed not, and walks unshamed
          Till Night his nothingness shall kindly hide!

DECEMBER, 1916. [page 13]

VIII.

Judas.

“Whomsoever I shall kiss that is He. . . .
Take Him . . . and they covenanted with him
for thirty pieces of silver . . . and Judas
departed and went out and hanged himself.”


In the Olden Book ye may read how the fiend, spewed
from the foul abyss,
For a price the Hope of the World betrayed with the mock
of a traitor-kiss—
In the Book of the Hours, writ in fire and blood ye may
read how a demon’s nod
His Hell-hounds loosed on their red-fanged swoop to the
Breach of the Truce of God.


Twin to the branded outlaw, spawn of the Brood of Cain,
Power thy god, thy councillors Envy and Pride and Gain;
Crafty and cruel and creeping, ye burrowed and schemed and spied
That the Faith ye had pledged may be shattered, the Pact ye vowed defied.

The hate in the heart ye dissembled with proffer of friendship’s hand:
Till thine arm be strong for the battle, ye lied and paltered and planned
With the cunning leer of a satyr, in the robe of a seraph dight,
That the blow may fall unwitting on the Day ye chose to smite. [page 14]

Fury and flame forth-speeding—license and lust unchained—
Cold hearths and roofless steading—altar and shrine profaned—
Anguish and tears and pleadings—pity and hope far fled—
Rape of the broken living—reek of the mangled dead—

These be the fruits of thy treason—the price of a troth forsworn!
As his the rebuke: “What to us?” so thine a world’s pitiless scorn
That dogs to thy farthest hiding; hard-pressing, thy guilt to upbraid,
The cried of the butchered infant, the shames of the ravished maid!

Not yet is thy doom appointed, not soon may the coward knife
By thy trembling hand be lifted in surcease of thy haunted life
Till thy black deed’s expiation to the least doit be quit:—
Thy tortured soul’s purgation, saith the Word: “See thou to it!”

By that slow-moving finger, on earth’s dark record penned,
Adown the rolling eons, till Time itself shall end,
Thy crime is writ the foulest, thy name with loathing spurned,
And men shall, judging, yield thee the place thyself hast earned!

JANUARY, 1917. [page 15]

IX.

Our Golden Northland.
(CANADIAN PATRIOTIC SONG)
Words by SAMUEL M. BAYLIS. Music by EDNA M. MORRISON.
Copyrighted 1917.

I.

Vale and highland, stream and island,
    Of all fairest
    She the rarest;
God above her, guard my lover,
    My Land, thy Land—
       Canada!

Refrain:

Here’s to our Golden Northland
    Fair spread from Sea to Sea!
Our love, our lives, our treasure
    We vow, dear Land to thee!
Heirs to thine olden glories,
    Warders of Flag and Throne,
One faith we pledge thee, Canada,
    Our fair Land, our own!

II.

Tattered, gory, proud the story
    How thy Crosses
    Dared all losses,
Cheered the dying—ever flying—
    My Flag, thy Flag,
       Canada?

(Refrain)
[page 16]

III.

Hear it ringing, far-blown winging,
    “Serve me, Save me,
    All I gave thee!”
Shall we flout it, scorn it, doubt it,
    Thy Call, my Call,
       Canada?

(Refrain)

SEPTEMBER, 1917.

Published by the Anglo-Canadian Music Company, Toronto. [page 17]

X.

The Doom of Lucifer.

Came Sathanas before the Lord,
   Bending on recreant knee,
Low proffering a rebel sword
   In feigned humility.
“Long enmity and strife doth rage
   ’Twixt Us since Time began,
Our Powers conjoint let Us engage
   To purge Thy creature, Man.

“In all my goings to and fro,
   O’er Earth’s age-wearied face,
Nor faith nor ruth his soul doth know
   Yet mocks Our Secret Place.
Lift Thou the Hand that stayeth me
   A year and yet a day,
And Fear shall drive his soul to Thee—
   Who scoffs, eft-soon shall pray.

“The men of blood swarm cap-a-pie
   Athwart the greening sod
To loose their hellish enginry
   And shame the Face of God.
Tho’ Heaven be naught, and Love a dream,
   Yet shall they know of Hell
When war-peals crash and lightnings gleam
   And Death strikes swift and fell. [page 18]

“Then shall I glut my lust-born thirst
   And drink of blood my fill
When loud my reeking thunders burst
   And Earth rocks at my will!
One year and but a day, O God!
   To joy in pain and tears,
And Man shall wail the scourging rod
   Far down the unborn years!”

“Thy men of blood are grief to Me,
   Their deeds My Soul offend:
Yet bide I long and patiently
   The hour that doth amend.
Perish, who wield it, by the sword,
   Mine olden mandate runs;
Avaunt! yet, going, hear the Word:
   Touch not My little ones!”

Havoc and flame and noisome fume—
   Blasts from Hell’s inmost ward—
Far-belching engines’ sullen boom—
   Hiss of the flying shard—
Red death and all foul lecheries—
   Avouch the War-god’s wrath;
And yet untold the villainies
   Strewing his blackened path. [page 19]

Into the Presence Satan breaks
   With sounding, haughty tread,
Whiles swift God’s holy anger wakes
   To shame the unbowed head.
“O fiend and cruel, yet a Fool:
   Know ye,—yet all too late,—
Self-purged, Man’s Soul himself doth rule,
   And Love his Law, not Hate!

“Out of thy Earth-empoisoned-Hell
   Hath sprung sweet sacrifice;
From every tear-sown, blood-sprent dell
   Fair blooms of healing rise;
Death-filming eyes have seen My Face,
   And cold lips breathed My Name,
As winging to its nesting place
   Homing the freed Soul came.

“Back from My ken to thine abode
   Of night and starless glooms,
Reaping ten-fold as thou has sowed—
   Thus equal Justice dooms.
Chill Fear, black Hate companion thee,
   And ever-burning thirst
Gnaw and consume! Depart from Me
   Thou unclean and accurst!”

OCTOBER, 1917. [page 20]

XI.

Resurgam.

This do we know—
   Yet know not how—that inert thing
Now seeming dead beneath the snow
      Shall wake with Spring;

And as we hope,
    When sleep shall round the day’s long strife
Waking, our ’wildered eyes shall ope
      To larger Life;

So do men say:
    From those dear plots of alien earth
Rare blooms shall spring to greet one day
       A world’s re-birth!

FEBRUARY, 1918. [page 21]

XII.

His Number.

Beside the shell-torn highway the riven poplars stand
Guarding the huddled crosses—fruit of that stricken land.
Six feet of France his guerdon—dole for his sacrifice—
A board, a name and number mark where a hero lies!

Gay song and whistle silenced, a lad in khaki stood.
Where throng those little crosses, eyeing their rain-soaked wood.
Their mute appeal straight smote him—full, instantaneous—
“Ther’ must be millions on ’em, my God! it’s up tu us!”

Hard by the wheel-churned cross-road, his wide-eyed, roving glance
Fell on a mud-splashed tablet, dim-lettered VIVE LA FRANCE,
An index westward-pointing: A PARIS, K. 93—
“Alright, ol’ scout, I get ye, ye’ve put it up tu me!”

“‘Gone West,’ hev ye, A. Par-ris, or wuz yer name Par-ee
When here atop, an’ hell bruk loose, yet fit fer France an’ me?
Wal, I’m here, see! an’ you are—not; I’m you, an’ you are—“it”;
Sleep well, ol’ cock, I’m on yer job, I’ll do yer chopped-off bit!”

“Down goes yer number in me buk—mine’s million umpty nine—
Chained to me wrist I’ve caarted it acrost th’ heavin’ brine;
But your’s is sich a little wan, ’t wo’nt add much to me load
When you an’ me goes sloggin’ it along this bloody road!” [page 22]

A modest hero’s simple tale crowned bard might joy to sing;
What tho’ the prologue be awry, ever “the play’s the thing”;
And this the curtain epilogue, summing the labored plot—
What vacant job do I take on, whose number have you got?

APRIL, 1918. [page 23]

XIII.

Thoroughbred.

All-unafraid, as sire, the seed,
    Indomitable, undismayed,
Fronts the ringed teeth of mongrel breed

All-unafraid.

If few, the greater honor paid!—
     Adown the years our Henry’s creed
Still fires high souls in arms arrayed.

Tho’ eyes be dim and torn hearts bleed,
     On! still unshaken, firmly stayed,
And greatly rise to greater need,

All unafraid!

APRIL, 1918. [page 24]

XIV.

With Wreaths of Victory.

The Arch-fiend’s Rape of Flanders
   Affrights his perjured soul,
In terror, chill and fearsome,
   Sensing the ghastly toll,
As Nemesis, stern-visaged,
   Mindful, hies speedily,
Bearing her awful mandate—
   Vengeance with Victory!

The poppied Fields of Flanders
   Rock to their sweeping tread
Where press the deathless living
   Linked with their living dead;—
Heralds of Dawn and Freedom,
   Warders of Liberty,
Throating their far-flung watchword—
   Judgement and Victory!

The souls who passed in Flanders,
   These and long years agone,
Wake to the trumpet summons
   And as of old fight on!
In serried clouds embattled—
   Dread Hosts of Mystery—
Their kin, all lion-hearted,
   Impel to Victory! [page 25]

To us who know not Flanders,
   But bide in sheltered ease,
There comes a Call, swift-winging,
   Across our guarded seas:
“Make strong your rearward bulwarks;
   Stand fast, unbowed, so ye
Shall stoutly fend unbroken
   The Will to Victory!”

Speed the Relief of Flanders—
   Call up the last reserve—
Fling in the massed battalions—
   Spare not, nor plead “ ’t will serve”;
Spill gold as they their life-blood—
   Great-hearted, lavishly—
Hold to the faith ye plighted
   And crown their Victory!

OCTOBER, 1918. [page 26]

XV.

To Him That Overcometh.

Triumphant paean and the glad All Hail!
   Far-booming salvo and shrill trumpet’s blare.
   With clamorous drum, shock the reverberant air
Athrob with joy, while sweeps the unleashed gale
In thunderous bursts that radiant hearts assail,
   And arms, full-laden, crowns and guerdons bear
   To deck the Victor, proved worthy to share
High tribute to the brave who strong prevail:—
    Afar from tumults and the strife’s annoy,
       Unmellowed, all too early harvested—
          Pale, bitter fruitage of the Fields of War—
  Unheeding of the crowd’s o’er-flowing joy
     He sleeps, encompassed by the comrade dead,
      True, unsung, death-defeating Conqueror!

OCTOBER, 1918. [page 27]

XVI.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.

Writ in the annals of our storied land
In waving antique script all luminant
Of those adventurous and dauntless souls
Who fared into the darksome wilderness
Seeking new lands and Empire for the King
And greater Glory for the Olden Faith,
There runs the moving tale of martyrdom
Won by the black-robed Soldiers of the Cross
At the red hands of savage heathenry
With chant and prayer upon gashed, tortured lips
And visions of supreme celestial bliss
For them, and for their blood-bought Land
A name and fame that round the world shall ring,
Passing, exultant, as they faintly breathed:
“Not unto us, O Lord! not unto us!”

Three centuries has marked their slow-paced years
When the far Call swept to the Golden North,
That rang thro’ all the lands where men are bred,
To gather swiftly for the Great Crusade
Against the Powers of Hell fouling the Earth
With deeds unspeakable and loathsome shames;
And peaceful toilers, grasping unused sword,
In massy cohorts sped o’er land and sea
To link them with the venging Peoples’ might
Banded to sweep the evil from the world. [page 28]

Long, darksome moons and leaden-footed days,
Mid toil and pain and bloody agony.
And noisome filths by clean-bred men abhorred,
Careless of ease and dim-remembered joys.
Ever and on they pressed to the far goal,
Counting their lives and all that Life enfolds
Of little worth so they might overcome
The foe entrenched in pride of garnered strength
And hurl him from the Rule of which he dreamed
Into the pit of dread oblivion.

Closer and tighter grips the iron ring
Belting the desert sands and beetling crags,
And one by one the Fiend’s duped satelites
To safety flee, and arms abjectly yield,
Which vauntingly He placed in recreant hands
Now raised in prayer for mercy undeserved,
And the Betrayer is in turn betrayed.

Deserted, mocked, alone He trembling bows
Beneath the withering blasts of men’s hot scorn,
And all His frenzied dreams and vain imaginings
Bred in a feverel brain return to plague;
And baffled minions clamor to avenge;
And idols false and lying fetiches—
Self-deified and fashioned curiously—
Crumble and break in one fell rending crash
Of temple, dome, and Heaven-offending tower;
And kingdoms, powers, and principalities [page 29]

Upreared in Lucifer’s high-swolen pride
To ruin plunge, o’er-whelming Him,
Humbled and crushed, dishonored and forgot!

What ills it tho’ some swift-descending blow
Sever life’s fine-drawn, loosened silvern thread,
Or that Remorse shall bid Him craven choose
The self-determined path by Judas trod,
Or, vagrant fugitive pleading release
By kindly Death from that High Court’s Decree
To wander ever on with the dark brand
Seared on His brow that marked Cain’s primal sin
For which no expiation may atone?—
While man’s attainder under forfeit and escheat
Seizes fiefs, lordships, dowries and estates
In satisfaction of just mulet imposed
And strict punition of foulest misdeeds.

Befits it us, these pregnant, fateful days,
When the Arch-Criminal confronts His doom,
To greet His downfall with unholy joy,
Vaunting our prowess and unaided skill
That brings to naught His torturous stratagems
To overcome and hold a world in thrall,
Unheeding of that unseen, moving Power
Impelling men to strive and venture all
For Right and Duty’s sake, which some call GOD?

Rather do we, unboasting, soberly—
Ascribing tribute to our valorous dead
Who kept the Faith and won Us Liberty— [page 30]
Each with the other urgent counsel take
So this fair Earth may be renewed and cleansed
From the dark menace of impending strife,
And peace and amity t‘wixt man and man
Forever reign, and never brother’s hand
Again be lifted to enchain and slay.

Let joyful hymns and glad Hosannas rise
In swelling chorus up from all the Lands
And our fair Heritage ring once again
With the triumphal strain its forests heard
When warrior-souls passed to their final place—
“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
But to Thy puissant Name all glory be!”

NOVEMBER, 1918. [page 31]

Envoy.

In faultily these halting lines express
The errant thought, the far-blown whisperings
Stirring the soul long years of bitter stress
Forgive, knowing perforce the rhymester sings.

NOVEMBER, 1918. [page 32]

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