Verse > Anthologies > George Herbert Clarke, ed. > A Treasury of War Poetry
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George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953).  A Treasury of War Poetry.  1917.
 
15. Pro Patria
 
By Owen Seaman
 
 
ENGLAND, in this great fight to which you go
  Because, where Honour calls you, go you must,
Be glad, whatever comes, at least to know
      You have your quarrel just.
 
Peace was your care; before the nations’ bar        5
  Her cause you pleaded and her ends you sought;
But not for her sake, being what you are,
      Could you be bribed and bought.
 
Others may spurn the pledge of land to land,
  May with the brute sword stain a gallant past;        10
But by the seal to which you set your hand,
      Thank God, you still stand fast!
 
Forth, then, to front that peril of the deep
  With smiling lips and in your eyes the light,
Steadfast and confident, of those who keep        15
      Their storied ’scutcheon bright.
 
And we, whose burden is to watch and wait,—
  High-hearted ever, strong in faith and prayer,—
We ask what offering we may consecrate,
      What humble service share.        20
 
To steel our souls against the lust of ease;
  To bear in silence though our hearts may bleed;
To spend ourselves, and never count the cost,
      For others’ greater need;—
 
To go our quiet ways, subdued and sane;        25
  To hush all vulgar clamour of the street;
With level calm to face alike the strain
      Of triumph or defeat;
 
This be our part, for so we serve you best,
  So best confirm their prowess and their pride,        30
Your warrior sons, to whom in this high test
      Our fortunes we confide.
  August 12, 1914
 

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