Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sunday War Poets...

Thomas Hardy

(1840-1928)

Thomashardy restored.jpg


"MEN WHO MARCH AWAY"

(Song of the Soldiers)

WHAT of the faith and fire within us
 Men who march away
 Ere the barn-cocks say
 Night is growing grey,
To hazards whence no tears can win us;
What of the faith and fire within us
Men who march away!

Is it a purblind prank, O think you,
Friend with the musing eye
Who watch us stepping by,
With doubt and dolorous sigh?
Can much pondering so hoodwink you?
Is it a purblind prank, O think you,
Friend with the musing eye?

Nay. We see well what we are doing.
Though some may not see—
Dalliers as they be—
England's need are we;
Her distress would leave us rueing:
Nay. We well see what we are doing!
Though some may not see!

In our heart of hearts believing
Victory crowns the just,
And that braggarts must
Surely bite the dust,
Press we to the field ungrieving,
In our heart of hearts believing
Victory crowns the just.

Hence the faith and fire within us
Men who march away
Ere the barn-cocks say
Night is growing grey,
To hazards whence no tears can win us;
Hence the faith and fire within us
Men who march away.

Thomas Hardy


September 5, 1914.

***

Although known for his Wessex inspired classic fiction, Thomas Hardy considered himself to be a poet and is now considered to be one of the greatest twentieth century poets.

Men Who March Away was written in September 1914 at the very start of the Great War when English optimism was running high and the war was fully expected to be over 'by Christmas'.

Hardy was no stranger to war poetry and had penned several during the earlier Boer War - he took a pragmatic approach to conflict and Men Who March Away is seen as a rallying cry.

*~*~*

2 comments:

  1. Hardy is my absolute favourite, yet I have yet to delve into his wartime poetry!

    Nell at And Nell Writes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree Nell - I love Thomas Hardy's fiction - in fact I am re-reading Far From the Madding Crowd.
      I haven't read much of his poetry though :)

      Delete

Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffa and I appreciate your interest.