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.
 
12. The Vigil
 
By Henry Newbolt
 
 
ENGLAND! where the sacred flame
    Burns before the inmost shrine,
Where the lips that love thy name
    Consecrate their hopes and thine,
Where the banners of thy dead        5
Weave their shadows overhead,
Watch beside thine arms to-night,
Pray that God defend the Right.
 
Think that when to-morrow comes
    War shall claim command of all,        10
Thou must hear the roll of drums,
    Thou must hear the trumpet’s call.
Now, before thy silence ruth,
Commune with the voice of truth;
England! on thy knees to-night        15
Pray that God defend the Right.
 
Single-hearted, unafraid,
    Hither all thy heroes came,
On this altar’s steps were laid
    Gordon’s life and Outram’s fame.        20
England! if thy will be yet
By their great example set,
Here beside thine arms to-night
Pray that God defend the Right.
 
So shalt thou when morning comes        25
    Rise to conquer or to fall,
Joyful hear the rolling drums,
    Joyful hear the trumpets call,
Then let Memory tell thy heart:
“England! what thou wert, thou art!”        30
Gird thee with thine ancient might,
Forth! and God defend the Right!
 

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