Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - Ode To A Young Man
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 nine poems featured within In Memoriam section of the collection.
You can access other poems within the section via the sidebar to the right.
Ode To A Young Man
(Who Died of Wounds in Flanders, January 1915)
(In Memoriam R.W.R.G.)
by Dynely Hussey
Can it be true that thou art
In the hour of thy youth, in the day of thy strength?
Must I believe thy soul has fled
Through heaven's length?
A scholar wast thou, learn'd
Poet was written in thine eyes.
Thou ne'er wast meant for bloody war
To seize in prize.
Yet when they asked thee,
"Lo! what dost thou bring?"
Thou gav'st thyself,
Thou gav'st thy body, gav'st thy soul;
Thou gav'st thyself, one consecrated whole
To sacrificial torture for thy King.
O lovely youth, slaughtered
at manhood's dawn,
In virgin purity thou liest dead,
And slaughtered were thy sons unborn,
With thee unwed.
Sleep on, pure youth, sleep
at Earth's soothing breast,
No king's sarcophagus was e'er so fine
As that poor shallow soldier's grave of thine,
Where all ungarlanded thou tak'st thy rest.
A 'Base Rat' was a soldier perpetually at the base, typically in conditions of comfort and safety.
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