Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
 
Fontenoy, 1745: I. Before the Battle; night
By Emily Lawless (1845–1913)
 
OH bad the march, the weary march, beneath these alien skies,
But good the night, the friendly night, that soothes our tired eyes.
And bad the war, the tedious war, that keeps us sweltering here,
But good the hour, the friendly hour, that brings the battle near.
That brings us on the battle, that summons to their share        5
The homeless troops, the banished men, the exiled sons of Clare.
 
Oh little Corca Bascinn, the wild, the bleak, the fair!
Oh little stony pastures, whose flowers are sweet, if rare!
Oh rough and rude Atlantic, the thunderous, the wide,
Whose kiss is like a soldier’s kiss which will not be denied!        10
The whole night long we dream of you, and waking think we’re there,—
Vain dream, and foolish waking, we never shall see Clare.
 
The wind is wild to-night, there’s battle in the air;
The wind is from the west, and it seems to blow from Clare.
Have you nothing, nothing for us, loud brawler of the night?        15
No news to warm our hearts-strings, to speed us through the fight?
In this hollow, star-pricked darkness, as in the sun’s hot glare,
In sun-tide, moon-tide, star-tide, we thirst, we starve for Clare!
 
Hark! yonder through the darkness one distant rat-tat-tat!
The old foe stirs out there, God bless his soul for that!        20
The old foe musters strongly, he’s coming on at last,
And Clare’s Brigade may claim its own wherever blows fall fast.
Send us, ye western breezes, our full, our rightful share,
For Faith, and Fame, and Honour, and the ruined hearths of Clare.
 
 
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