Sunday, 2 September 2018

Sunday WW1 Remembered..



A Sampling of War Poets

1914

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 gray,

Leaving all that here 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 well see 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 gray,

Leaving all that here can win us;

Hence the faith and fire within us

Men who march away.

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.


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