Before Action
W. N. Hodgson
  • Killed at the Battle of the Somme, two days after writing this poem
  • Written on 29 June 1916
  • By all the glories of the day,
  • And the cool evening's benison,
  • By that last sunset touch that lay,
  • Upon the hills when day was done,
  • By beauty lavishly outpoured,
  • And blessings carelessly received,
  • By all the days that I have lived,
  • Make me a soldier, Lord.
  • By all of man's hopes and fears,
  • And all the wonders poets sing,
  • The laughter of unclouded years,
  • And every sad and lovely thing;
  • By the romantic ages stored
  • With high endeavour that was his,
  • By all his mad catastrophes
  • Make me a man, O Lord.
  • I, that on my unfamiliar hill
  • Saw with uncomprehending eyes
  • A hundred of thy sunsets spill
  • Their fresh and sanguine sacrifice,
  • Ere the sun swings his noonday sword
  • Must say good-bye to all of this;-
  • By all delights that I shall miss,
  • Help me to die, O Lord.
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