Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - Ivinghoe Hill
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 Chivalry of Sport section of the collection.
You can access other poems within the section via the sidebar to the right.
by George U. Robins
Here, where three counties
join hands in alliance,
Terrace on terrace and glade upon glade,
Ashridge looms up like a keep of the giants,
Buttressed with beech woods from Aldbury to Gade.
Northwards the vale stretches smiling and spacious,
Spurs of the Chilterns the far distance fill;
Never held dreamland a prospect more gracious:
Sunlight and shadow on Ivinghoe hill.
Here, uneffaced by two
thousand years' weather,
Scarred on the chalk down and stamped in the clay,
Linking the Eastland and Westland together,
Runs the long line of the great Icknield Way.
Here, in the days of the dawning of history,
Marched the Iceni to plunder and kill;
Over it all hangs the glamour of mystery:
Shades of the past under Ivinghoe hill.
Wonder's the knoll where the
beacon was lighted,
Northward and eastward the red message runs
"Philip's tall ships in the Channel are sighted;
Arm, for your country hath need of her sons!"
Straightway they rose and flung back the Armada.
Lives the same spirit within our hearts still?
Can England muster such champions to guard her?
Mists of the future round Ivinghoe hill.
Hush! A brown form through
the gorse stems is stealing,
Off to the vale with a wave of his brush!
Heedless of aught that the future's concealing,
Back to the present we come with a rush.
One ringing shout to the horsemen who follow,
Waking the woods till they echo and thrill;
Now the horn answers: Hark holloa! hark holloa!
Huntsman and hound upon Ivinghoe hill.
The "Red Baron" was the allied nickname for German air ace Manfred von Richthofen, the leading ace of the war.
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