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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 many

mouthed sea, This your guerdon, empty heart, by empty

bed to bend the knee?

And if he be but the latest thus to leave your

dwindling board, Is a sorrow less for being added to a sor

row'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, Mac

kenzie, Amazon ?

Ah! you

still must wait and suffer in a soli.

tude untold, While your sisters of the nations. call you passive, call you cold —

Still must scan the news of sailings, breath

less search the slow gazette, Find the dreadful name ... and, later, get

his blithe farewell! And yet — 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

MATRES DOLOROSÆ

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:

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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,
But 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-

mand.

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

THE ABSENT SOLDIER SON

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

spun 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

young That on the fleck and moult of brutish

beasts 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

aside
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

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

Sidney Dobell

MOTHER AND SON

BRIGHTLY for him the future smiled,

The world was all untried ;
He had been a boy, almost a child,

In 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!

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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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