Verse > Anthologies > George Herbert Clarke, ed. > A Treasury of War Poetry
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George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953).  A Treasury of War Poetry.  1917.
 
100. Before Action
 
By William Noel Hodgson (“Edward Melbourne”)
 
 
BY all the glories of the day,
And the cool evening’s benison:
By the last sunset touch that lay
Upon the hills when day was done:
By beauty lavishly outpoured,        5
And blessings carelessly received,
By all the days that I have lived,
Make me a soldier, Lord.
 
By all of all men’s hopes and fears,
And all the wonders poets sing,        10
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,        15
Make me a man, O Lord.
 
I, that on my familiar hill
Saw with uncomprehending eyes
A hundred of Thy sunsets spill
Their fresh and sanguine sacrifice,        20
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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