Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - Better Far To Pass Away

"Better Far To Pass Away" by Richard Molesworth Dennys 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 Before Action section of the collection.  You can access other poems within the section via the sidebar to the right.

Better Far To Pass Away
by Richard Molesworth Dennys

Better far to pass away
While the limbs are strong and young,
Ere the ending of the day,
Ere youth's lusty song be sung.
Hot blood pulsing through the veins,
Youth's high hope a burning fire,
Young men needs must break the chains
That hold them from their hearts' desire.

My friends the hills, the sea, the sun,
The winds, the woods, the clouds, the trees -
How feebly, if my youth were done,
Could I, an old man, relish these!
With laughter, then, I'll go to greet
What Fate has still in store for me,
And welcome Death if we should meet,
And bear him willing company.

My share of fourscore years and ten
I'll gladly yield to any man,
And take no thought of "where" or "when,"
Contented with my shorter span,
For I have learned what love may be,
And found a heart that understands,
And known a comrade's constancy,
And felt the grip of friendly hands.

Come when it may, the stern decree
For me to leave the cheery throng
And quit the sturdy company
Of brothers that I work an:tong.
No need for me to look askance,
Since no regret my prospect mars.
My day was happy - and perchance
The coming night is full of stars.

"Lance corporal bacon" was the name used by Anzac soldiers to describe very fatty bacon with a sliver of lean meat running through it.

- Did you know?

Muse in Arms

Before Action