To A King's Recruit.
Now is your time of trial, now
When into dusk the glamour pales
And the first glow of passion fails
That lit your eyes and flushed your brow
In that great moment when you made your vow.
The Vision fades; you scarce recall
The sudden swelling of the heart,
The swift resolve to have your part
In this the noblest quest of all
By which our word is given to stand or fall.
Your mother's pride, your comrades' praise --
All that romance that seemed so fair
Grows dim, and you are left to bear
The prose of duty's sombre ways
And labour of the long unlovely days.
Yet here's the test to prove you kin
With those to whom we trust our fate,
Sober and stedfast, clean and straight,
In that stern school of discipline
Hardened to war against the foe within.
For only so, in England's sight,
By that ordeal's searching flame
Found worthy of your fathers' fame,
With all your spirit's armour bright
Can you go forth in her dear cause to fight.
NotesReprinted by special permission of the proprietors of Punch.
Edwards, Mabel C. and Mary Booth, ed. THE FIERY CROSS: An Anthology of War Poems. London: Grant Richards Ltd., 1915.