Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - Ave, Mater - atque Vale

"Ave, Mater - atque Vale" by William Noel Hodgson First published in London in November 1917 and reprinted in February 1918 The Muse in Arms comprised, in the words of editor E. B. Osborne:

"A collection of war poems, for the most part written in the field of action, by seamen, soldiers, and flying men who are serving, or have served, in the Great War".

Below is one of eight poems featured within the School and College section of the collection.

You can access other poems within the section via the sidebar to the right.

Ave, Mater - atque Vale
by William Noel Hogdson

The deathless mother, grey and battle-scarred,
Lies in the sanctuary of stately trees,
Where the deep Northern night is saffron starred
Above her head, and thro' the dusk she sees
God's shadowy fortress keep unsleeping guard.

From her full breast we drank of joy and mirth
And gave to her a boy's unreasoned heart,
Wherein Time's fulness was to bring to birth
Such passionate allegiance that to part
Seemed like the passing of all light on earth.

Now on the threshold of a man's estate,
With a new depth of love akin to pain
I ask thy blessing, while I dedicate
My life and sword, with promise to maintain
Thine ancient honour yet inviolate.

Last night dream-hearted in the Abbey's spell
We stood to sing cld Simeon's passing hymn,
When sudden splendour of the sunset fell
Full on my eyes, and passed and left all dim -
At once a summons and a deep farewell.

I am content - our life is but a trust
From the great hand of God, and if I keep
The immortal Treasure clean of mortal rust
Against His claim, 'tis well and let me sleep
Among the not dishonourable dust.

'Whippet' was a term used to describe any light tank.

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