When you loosed hell you did not know
You loosed all heaven on earth as well,
Still spirit strives with flesh below
And angels with us dwell.
We fight, but with no mortal sword,
We thunder, not with earthly guns,
For freedom and the living Lord
We rise to meet the Huns.
Flushed with your plenitude of power
You drave the Christ from off His throne,
Bade Thor and Odin bring their dower
Of blood and iron and stone.
You dreamed that “frightfulness” of death
Would lead your hosts to victory,
You see with calm untroubled breath
Our best go forth to die.
You held that might not right was all,
You were as God to choose the day,
You find when wall and tower fall,
That courage still can stay.
In rule and drill you put your trust,
Where cunning served you cunning chose,
You cast all honour to the dust
And made the world your foes.
To reign not serve, to get not give,
These were the watchwords of your goal,
You fail, but truth and freedom live,
And Europe finds her soul.
(The European War 1914-1915 Poems, pp. 200-1)