Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
XXXIII. Resignation
In Memory of Field-Marshal Earl Roberts
By Owen Seaman (1861–1936)
 
[Born 1832. Died, on Service at the Front, November 14, 1914.]

HE died, as soldiers die, amid the strife,
  Mindful of England in his latest prayer;
God, of His love, would have so fair a life
      Crowned with a death as fair.
 
He might not lead the battle as of old,        5
  But, as of old, among his own he went,
Breathing a faith that never once grew cold,
      A courage still unspent.
 
So was his end; and, in that hour, across
  The face of War a wind of silence blew,        10
And bitterest foes paid tribute to the loss
      Of a great heart and true.
 
But we who loved him, what have we to lay
  For sign of worship on his warrior-bier?
What homage, could his lips but speak to-day,        15
      Would he have held most dear?
 
Not grief, as for a life untimely reft;
  Not vain regret for counsel given in vain;
Not pride of that high record he has left,
      Peerless and pure of stain;        20
 
But service of our lives to keep her free,
  The land he served; a pledge above his grave
To give her even such a gift as he,
      The soul of loyalty, gave.
 
That oath we plight, as now the trumpets swell        25
  His requiem, and the men-at-arms stand mute,
And through the mist the guns he loved so well
      Thunder a last salute!
 
 
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