Verse > Siegfried Sassoon > The Old Huntsman and Other Poems

Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967).  The Old Huntsman and Other Poems.  1918.

19. Two Hundred Years After

TRUDGING by Corbie Ridge one winter’s night, 
(Unless old hearsay memories tricked his sight) 
Along the pallid edge of the quiet sky 
He watched a nosing lorry grinding on, 
And straggling files of men; when these were gone,         5
A double limber and six mules went by, 
Hauling the rations up through ruts and mud 
To trench-lines digged two hundred years ago. 
Then darkness hid them with a rainy scud, 
And soon he saw the village lights below.  10
But when he’d told his tale, an old man said 
That he’d seen soldiers pass along that hill; 
‘Poor silent things, they were the English dead 
Who came to fight in France and got their fill.’ 



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