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Did you school yourself to absence all his adolescent years,

That, though you be torn with parting, he should never see the tears?

Now his ship has left the offing for the manymouthed sea,

This your guerdon, empty heart, by empty bed to bend the knee?

And if he be but the latest thus to leave

dwindling board,


Is a sorrow less for being added to a sorrow's hoard?

Is the mother-pain duller that to-day his brothers stand,

Facing ambuscades of Congo, or alarms from Zululand?

Toil, where blizzards drift the snow like smoke across the plains of death? Faint, where tropic fens at morning steam with fever-laden breath?

Die, that in some distant river's veins the English blood may run

Mississippi, Yangtze, Ganges, Nile, Mackenzie, Amazon?

Ah! you still must wait and suffer in a solitude untold,

While your sisters of the nations call you passive, call you cold


Still must scan the news of sailings, breathless search the slow gazette,

Find the dreadful name... and, later, get

his blithe farewell! And yet

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Shall the lonely hearthstone shame the legions who have died

Grudging not the price their country pays for progress and for pride?

Nay; but, England, do not ask us thus to emulate your scars

Until women's tears are reckoned in the budgets of your wars.

Robert Underwood Johnson


YE Spartan mothers, gentle ones,
Of lion-hearted, loving sons

Fall'n, the flower of English youth,
To a barbarous foe in a land uncouth:

O what a delicate sacrifice!
Unequal the stake and costly the price
As when the queen of Love deplor'd
Her darling by the wild beast gor'd.

They rode to war as if to the hunt,
ye at home, ye bore the brunt,
Bore the siege of torturing fears,
Fed your hope on the bread of tears.

Proud and spotless warriors they
With love or sword to lead the way;

For ye had cradled heart and hand,
The commander hearken'd to your com-

Ah, weeping mothers, now all is o'er,
Ye know your honor and mourn no more:
Nor ask ye a name in England's story,
Who gave your dearest for her glory.

Robert Bridges


LORD, I am weeping. As Thou wilt, O Lord,
Do with him as Thou wilt; but O my God,
Let him come back to die! Let not the fowls
O' the air defile the body of my child,
My own fair child, that when he was a babe,
I lift up in my arms and gave to Thee!
Let not his garment, Lord, be vilely parted,
Nor the fine linen which these hands have


Fall to the stranger's lot! Shall the wild bird, That would have pilfered of the ox, this year Disdain the pens and stalls? Shall her blind


That on the fleck and moult of brutish


Had been too happy, sleep in cloth of gold

Whereof each thread is to this beating heart As a peculiar darling? Lo, the flies

Hum o'er him! lo, a feather from the crow Falls in his parted lips! Lo, his dead eyes See not the raven! Lo, the worm, the worm, Creeps from his festering corse? My God! my God!

O Lord, Thou doest well. I am content.
If Thou have need of him he shall not stay.
But as one calleth to a servant, saying
"At such a time be with me," so, O Lord,
Call him to Thee! O, bid him not in haste
Straight whence he standeth. Let him lay


The soiléd tools of labor. Let him wash
His hands of blood. Let him array himself
Meet for his Lord, pure from the sweat and

Of corporal travail! Lord, if he must die,
Let him die here. O, take him where Thou


Sidney Dobell


BRIGHTLY for him the future smiled,
The world was all untried;

He had been a boy, almost a child,
your household till he died.


And you saw him young and strong and fair
But yesterday depart;

And you now know he is lying there
Shot to death through the heart!

Alas, for the step so proud and true
That struck on the war-path's track;
Alas, to go, as he went from you,

And to come, as they brought him back!

One shining curl from that bright young head,
Held sacred in your home,

Is all that you have to keep in his stead
In the years that are to come.

You may claim of his beauty and his youth
Only this little part-

It is not much with which to stanch
The wound in a mother's heart!

It is not much with which to dry
The bitter tears that flow;
Not much in your empty hands to lie
As the seasons come and go.

Yet he has not lived and died in vain,
For proudly you may say

He has left a name without a stain

For your tears to wash away.

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