Thursday, September 22, 2016

A SOLDIER, a poem

DEAR God, I raised my boy to be a soldier;
     I tried to make him strong of will and true;
I told him many a tale of deeds heroic—
     The noblest and the sweetest tales I knew.

In thought, he shared the charge at Balaclava,
     With the Swiss Guard, o'ermastered coward Death,
With Gordon all renounced, with Scott and Peary
     Breathed in his ardent youth heroic breath.

A little lad, he wept for wounded Sidney,
     For Bayard, sans reproche, who knew no fears,
Yet, hurt himself, if one but said,—"My Soldier!"—
     Straightaway he smiled and swallowed down his tears.

I taught him that the brave are full of mercy;
     That gentleness and love to strength belong;
That honour is the only High adventure,
     And goodness the one everlasting song!

And so I raised my boy to be a Soldier:
     A patriot soldier, brave, devoted, free!
And now, and now,—with grateful trust, O Father!
     I give him to my Country and to Thee!
"A Soldier" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Bellman (20 July 1918).

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