Into Battle
Julien Grenfell, (1888-1915)
  • Severely wounded on the 13 May 1915, he died on the 26 May 1915
  • Written in April 1915

  • The naked earth is warm with Spring,
  • And with green grass and bursting trees
  • Leans to the sun's gaze glorying,
  • And quivers in the sunny breeze;
  • And life is colour and warmth and light,
  • And a striving evermore for these;
  • And he is dead who will not fight;
  • And who dies fighting has increase.
  • The fighting man shall from the sun
  • Take warmth, and life from the glowing
  • Speed with the light-foot winds to run,
  • And with the trees to newer birth;
  • And find, when fighting shall be done,
  • Great rest, and fullness after dearth.
  • All the bright company of Heaven
  • Hold him in their high comradeship,
  • The Dog-Star, and the Sisters Seven,
  • Orion's Belt and sworded hip.
  • Click to return to our Poets' corner
  • The woodland trees that stand together,
  • They stand to him each one a friend;
  • They gently speak in the windy weather;
  • They guide to valley and ridge's end.
  • The kestrel hovering by day,
  • And the little owls that call by night,
  • Bid him be swift and keen as they,
  • As keen of ear, as swift of sight.
  • The blackbird sings to him, `Brother, brother,
  • If this be the last song you shall sing,
  • Sing well, for you may not sing another;
  • Brother, sing'.
  • In dreary doubtful, waiting hours,
  • Before the brazen frenzy starts,
  • The horses show him nobler powers;
  • O patient eyes, courageous hearts!
  • And when the burning moment breaks,
  • And all things else are out of mind,
  • And only joy of battle takes
  • Him by the throat, and makes him blind,
  • Through joy and blindness he shall know,
  • Not caring much to know, that still
  • Nor lead nor steel shall reach him, so
  • That it be not the Destined Will.
  • The thundering line of battle stands,
  • And in the air death moans and sings,
  • But Day shall clasp him with strong hands,
  • And Night shall fold him in soft wings.