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TH E GUARDS

C A ME TH RO UGH
AND OTHER POE MS

BY

AR TH UR C O NAN D OYL E
AU T H O R OF
!
S ON G S ow A C T ION ,
! !
S ON GS
O F TH E RO A D, E T C
!
.

NEW Y O R!

G E O R GE H . D ORAN C O MP ANY
C O P Y R I GH T , 1 920,

BY G E O RG E E . D ORA N C O MP A N Y

P R IN T E D IN T H E U NI T E D ST A T ES OF AME RI CA
I
V )
J

P R E FAC E

I mu s t p ologi ze for the s i ze of thi s


a

b oo klet whic h c an o nl y b e j u s ti ed
,

o n the gr o un d th a t there i s s o me

dem an d for the c o ntent s a s re c it a


ti o n s I h op e p re s ently to c o mbin e
.

W h a te ver i s w o r th pr e s er vin g in my

three v olume s of v ers e so as to ,

m a ke a s in gle c olle c ti on
-
.

AR TH U R C O NA N D O YL E
CO N T E N T S

VI C T RI!

T H O S E O TH E R S

T H E G U A RD S C AME T H R OUGH

HA IG I S MOV ING
TH E G UN S IN SU SS E !

YP R E S

GR OU S ING

PR E V OL UN TEE R
'

TH E NI GH T P A T R OL
"

TH E WRE C! ON L O CH MCGA RRY


TH E B IG O T

TH E ATH A B ASCA TR A IL
R A GT nuE ! .

C H R I S TM AS IN WA R T IME
LINDIS FA IR E

A P A R AB L E
Y

FA T E
VI CT R I!

H ow was it the n with E n gland !

H er faith was true to her plighted word ,

H er stron g hand clos ed on her blunted sword ,

H er heart ros e hi gh the foeman s hate


to ,

S he wa lked with G od on th e hill s of Fa t e


And all was well with E ngla n d .

H OW was it the n with E ngland !

H er soul was wrun g with loss and p ain ,

H er face was grey with her heart s blood drai n

B u t her falcon eyes were hard and bright ,

Austere and cold as an ice cave s light -


And all was well with E n gland .

H ow was it then with E n gland !

Litt le sh e said to foe o r fri e nd ,

13
14 T HE . GU A RDS C A M E T H ROU G H

True heart true


, , to the utmost end ,

Her passion cry was the scathe sh e wrought ,

In ame and steel she voiced her thought


And all was well wi th E ngland .

H ow was it then with E ngland !

With dro opin g sword and bended head ,

S he turned a part and mourned her dead ,

S ad sky above sad e arth beneath


, ,

S he walk e d with G od in the V ale of D eath


Ah woe the day fo r
,
E ngla n d !

H ow is it now with E ngland !

S he sees upon her mist girt path -

D im drifting shapes of fear and wrath ,

H old high the heart ! B end low the knee !


S he has been guided and will ,
be

And all is well with E ngland .


THOSE OTHE R S

WH E R E are thos e others ! -


the men wh o s t oo d
In the rs t wild spate of the G erman ood ,

And paid full p rice with their heart s best blood

For the saving of you and me !


French s C o n tem p tib l es , haggard and lean ,

A ll enb y

s lads of the cavalry screen ,

G unners wh o fell in B attery L ,

And G uardsme n o f Landrecies !

Where are thos e others wh o fought and fell ,

O utmanned , outgunned and scant o f shell ,

O n th e deadly curve o f the Ypres hell ,

B arring the coast to the last !


Wher e are our l addies who died ou t there,
From P oel c a p ell e to Festuber t ,

15
16 T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H R O U GH
When the days grew short and the poplars bare
In the cold November blast !

For us thei r toil and for us their p ain ,

T he sordid ditch in the sodden plain ,

The Flemish fog an d the drivin g rain ,

The cold that cramped and froze !


The weary night the chill bleak day
, ,

When earth was dark and sky was grey ,

And the ragged weeds in the dripping clay


Were a ll G od s world

to th o se .

Where ar e thos e others in this gla d time ,

When the standards wave and the j oy b ell s chime ,

And London stands with outstretched hands


Waving her children in !

Athwart ou r
j oy still comes the thought
Of the dear dead boys whos e lives have bought
,

All that sweet victory has brought


To us wh o lived to win .
T HE GU A RDS C A M E T H R OU G H 17

To each his dreams and mine


, to me ,

But as th e shadows fall I s ee


That ever glorious company
-

The men wh o bide out there .

R i em a n, H ighlande r , Fusilier
Airman and S apper an d G renadier ,

With aunting banner and wave and cheer ,

They ow through the darkening air .

And yours are there and ,


so are mine ,

R ank upon rank and line on line ,

With smilin g lip s and eyes that shine ,

And bearin g proud and h igh .

Past they go with their measured tread ,

Thes e are the victors thes ethe dead !


,

Ah sink the knee and bare the head


,

As th e hallowed host goes by !


TH E G U A R D S C A M E T H R O UG H

ME N of th e Twenty -
rs t,

Up by the C halk Pit Wood ,

Weak from ou r wounds and our th irs t ,

Wa nt in g ou r sl e ep and ou r food ,

After a day and a night .

G od ! s h all I ever forge t !


B eate n a n d broke in th e ght ,

B u t sticking it sticki n g i t yet


, ,

Trying to hold the l ine ,

Fai n ti n g and sp en t and do ne !

Always t h e thud and t he whi ne ,

Always the yel l of the H un .

Nor thumberland Lancaster, York,


,

D urham and S omerset ,

18
T H E GU A RDS C A M E T H R OU G H

Fighti n g alon e worn , to the bo ne ,

B ut sticking it stickin g i t yet , .

Never a mess age o f hop e,


Never a word of cheer ,

F r on tin
g
!
H ill 7 o s
!
shell swept s l ope
-
,

With the dull dead plain , in ou r rea r !


Always the shriek o f the shell ,

Always the roar o f its burst ,

A lways th e tortures o f H e l l,

As waitin g and wincin g we cu r s ed


O ur luck th e guns and the B oche
, ,
.

Wh en ou r C orporal shouted !
S tand t o !
And I hear some one cr y ,
!
C lear t he front
!
G uards
An d th e G uards cam e through .

Ou r t hroats they were parch e d and ho t ,

But Lord ! if you d heard th e cheer


,

,
20 T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H R OU G H
Irish Welsh and S cot
, ,

C oldstream and G renadi e r


'

T wo B rigades i f , y ou pleas e ,

D ressing as straigh t as a hem ! .

We w e were down on our knees


, ,

P raying for us and fo r them .

P raying with tear wet cheek -


,

P rayin g with outstr etched hand .

Lo rd ! I could speak f or a week ,

B ut h ow could y ou un derstand !
H ow could your cheeks be wet !
S uch f eel in

s

don t come to you !
B ut how can me or my mates forget ,

H ow the G uards cam e through !

!
Five yards left extend ,

It passed from rank to rank


And line after line with never a bend , ,

And a touch of the London swank .


T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H ROUG H 21

A trie o f swank and dash ,

C ool as a home parade ,

Twinkle glitter and ash


, ,

Flinchin g never a shade ,

With the shrapnel right in thei r face ,

D oing their H yde Park stunt


S win ging along at an easy pace ,

Arms at the trail eyes front


, .

M an ! it was great to s ee !

M an ! it was gr eat to do !
It s a cot and a hospital ward for me

, ,

But I ll tell them in Blighty wherever I


H ow the G uards came through .


HAI G I S MO V I N G

A UG U S T , 1 9 1 8

HAI G is moving !
Three plain words a re all that matter ,

M id the gossip and the chatter !

H opes in speeches fears in p apers


, ,

P essimistic froth and vap ours


H aig is moving !

H aig is moving !
We can turn from G erman scheming ,

From humanitarian dreaming ,

F rom assertions contradictions


, ,

Twisted facts and solemn c tion s

H aig is moving !
22
T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H R O UG H 23

H aig is moving !
Al l the weary idle phrases ,

E mpty b l a m in gs, empty praises ,


H ere s an end to thei r recital ,

There is only on e thing vital


H aig is moving !

H aig is moving !
H e is m ovin g, h e is gaini n g

And the whole hushed world is strai n ing ,

S training yearnin g for the vision


, ,

Of the doom a n d the decision


H aig is mo v in g !
THE GUN S IN SU S S E!

L I GH T green o f gras s and richer green of bus h

S lop e upwards to the darkest green of fir .

H ow still ! H ow deathly still ! And yet the hush

S hivers and trembles with some subtle sti r ,

S ome far -
o ff throbbing like a m u le d drum ,

Beaten in broken rhythm overs ea ,

To play the last funereal march of s ome


Wh o die to day tha t -
E u r op e may be fre e .

The deep blue heaven curv ing from the green


-
, ,

S pans with i t s shimmerin g arch th e ow e ry


z on e !
In all G od s ea rth ther e is

no g entler sce ne ,

And yet I hear that aw e some monotone .

24
TH E GU A RDS C A M E T H ROUG H 25

Above th e circling midge s piping shrill

And the long dronin g o f the questing bee ,

Above all sultry s ummer s ounds ,


it still
M u tters its ceaseles s menaces to me .

And as I listen all the garden fair


,

D arkens to plains o f mis ery and dea th ,

An d looking past th e roses ,


I see there
Thos e sordid furrows ,
with the rising breath
Of all things foul and black . M y heart is hot
Within me as I V iew it and
, I cry ,

!
Better the misery o f thes e men s lo t

Than all the p e ace that comes to such as I !

And strange that in the paus es of the sound


I hear the children s laughter as they roam

And then t heir mother calls and all around ,

R is e up th e gentle murmurs of a hom e .

But still I gaz e a far and at the sight


,

M y whole s oul so ftens to its heart felt prayer -


,
26 T HE GU A RD S C AM E TH R O U GH

S pi rit of Justice ,
Thou for whom they ght
Ah turn in mercy to
,
ou r lads out there !

The froward peoples have deserved Thy wrath ,

And on them is the Judgment as o f old,

But i f they wandered from the hallowed path ,

Yet is th e ir retribution mani fold .

B e hold all E urop e writhing on t he ra c k ,

The sins of fathers grinding down th e s ons !


H ow ! !
long ,
0 Lord He sends no answer back ,

B ut s t ill I hear th e mu tte r of t he gun s .


YP R E S

S E P TE M B E R, 1 9 1 5

P US H on ,
my Lord o f Wiirtem b er g across the ,

Flemish Fen !
S ee where the lure of Ypres calls y ou !

There s j ust one ragged B ritish lin e o f


B lumer

s
weary men !
It s t rue they h e ld you

off be fore but v enture it
,

again !
C ome ,
t ry your luck , wha t ev e r fate be falls
you

You ve bee n some little time my Lord


, .

Perhap s you scarce remember


The far early days of that resis t anc e

-
o .

Was it in O ctob e r last ! O r was it in Nov e m b er !


27
28 T H E GU A RD S C A M E TH R O U G H

And now the leaves are turn ing and o


y u stand
i n mid S eptember
-

S til l staring at the B elfry in the distance .

C an y ou recall the fate ful daya day o f dri ft


in g skies ,

Wh e n you started on the famous C alais onset !


C an it be the War Lord blund e red when h e urged
-

the enterpris e !
For surely
it s a weary whil e since rst b e fore
your e y e s
Tha t O ld B elfry ros e against th e s un s et .

You held council a t your qua rters whe n the bud


din g Alexanders
And th e P ickel -
h au b e d C aesars ga v e their r e a
s ons .

Was there on e amo n gs t that bristle h e aded circle


-

o f commanders
T HE GU A RDS C AM E TH R O U GH 29

E ver ventured the O pin ion that a little town of


Flanders
Would hold y ou pounded her e through all t he
s easons

You all clasped hands upon it . You would break


the B ritish line ,

Yo u would smash a road to westward with you r


host ,

The h owit ze rs s hould thunder and t he U hl an

lances shine ,

Till C alais heard the blarin g of the di stant


!
Wacht am R hein ,
!

As you topped the grassy uplands o f the coas t .

S aid the G ra f von Feuer -


E ss e n ,
!
It s

a fac t b e
yon d discus sion ,

That man to man we can o u t h


g t the fo e .

There is v alour in th e French there is p ati en ce ,

i n the R us sian ,
30 T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H R O U GH

But blend all war like virtues and -


y ou get the
lordly P russian ,
!

And the bristle headed murmured -


, D as is t

80 .

And the B ritish ,


quoth another ,
they are mer
c en a r
y cattle ,

Without one noble impuls e of the s oul ,

D egenerate and drunken ! i f the dollars chink and


ra ttle ,

T is the only sor t o f music that will call them to


!
the battle .

And all the bristle headed cried -


,
J a wo hl !
!

And so next day your battle rolled across the


M enin Plain ,

Where C apper s men


stood lonely to your
w rath .

You broke him and you broke him bu t


, , y ou brok e
him all in vain ,
TH E GU A RDS C A M E T H R OU G H 31

For h e a n d hi s c o n tem p tibl es kept closi n g up


again ,

And the khaki bar was still acros s your pa th .

And on the day wh en G heluvelt la y smoki n g i n


the sun ,

When Von D eimling stormed so hotly i n th e


van ,

You smiled as H aig reeled backwards a n d y ou

t h ought h im o n the run ,

B ut alas for dreams t hat v a n ish for before t h e


, ,

da y was don e
It was you m y Lord , of Wu r temb er g that r a n
,
.

A dr e ar y da y was tha tbut a n oth e r cam e mo re ,

dr e ar y,
When the G uard from Arras l e d y our e rc e
attacks ,

S pruce a nd splendid in the mo r ning w e re the


P otsdam G renadiere ,
32 T H E GU A RDS C A M E T H R OU G H

But n ot s o spruce that evening when they stag

ger e d sp e nt and weary ,

With those cursed B ritish storming at thei r


backs .

Y ou kn ewy our spies had told youthat the


ranks were scant and thin ,

That the guns were sho rt of Shell a n d ve ry


few ,

By all B ernhard i s maxims y ou w e r e surely bo un d


to win ,

H as te ,

There s the open town before y ou . my
Lord and enter in
, ,

Or th e War Lord may have -


tel egr LIB S
"
for y ou .

Then came the rain y win ter when the pric e was,

ever dearer ,

E very time you n eared th e priz e o f which you


dreamed ,
T HE GU A RD S C A M E T H R OU G H 33

E ach day th e B e l fry faced you but you never


brou ght it n ear e r ,

E ach n ight you saw it clearly bu t you never ,


s aw

it clear e r .

Ah what a w e ary time i t mus t h a ve s e emed !


,

At last there cam e th e E aster whe n you loosed the


coward gases ,

S urely y ou have go t the rascals n ow !


You could s ee them spent and chokin g as you

watched them thro your glasses ,

Y e s they chok e but n ever waver and agai n the


, , ,

mom en t passes ,

Withou t one leaf of laurel fo r y our brow .

T hen at H ooge you had them helpl e ss ,


f or their
guns wer e one to ten ,

And you blasted trench and travers e a t your


will .
34 T H E GU A RDS C A M E TH RO U G H
You had them dead an d buried ,
but they s t ill
sp ran g up again .

!
D on n e r we tte r !
!
cried your Lordship ,
!
D o n ne r

we tte r !
!
cried your men ,

Fo r their very ghosts were guarding Ypr e s still .

Active G uards
, ,
R e serve men o f every corp s a n d
n ame
That t he bu gles o f the War Lord mus te r i n -
.

E ac h in turn you tried t hem bu t the s t or y was ,

th e same !
P la y it how y ou would my Lord
, , y ou ne v e r won

th e game ,

No, n ever in a tw e lvemonth did y ou win .

A year ,
my Lord o f Wiirtem b er g -w
a ye a r ,
or

n early s o,

S ince rst y ou fac e d the British


vis cl vzs !
-

You r learn e d C omm a n d an ten ar e the m en wh o

ought to kn ow ,
T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H R OU G H 35

B ut to ordinary mor t als it would s eem a t ri e


slow ,

If y ou really m e an to travel to the s ea .

I f you c a n not s tr a
f the B ritish s ince th
,
e y s tra f en
y ou so well ,

You ca n s a f e ly smash the t ow n tha t lies so

n ear ,

So it s d own with arch and bu ttr e s s dow n wi t h


b elfry and with bell ,

A n d it s th e s e ve n s e ve n th at d rop th e

h ook -
c an

p etrol shel l
On the shrines that p ious h a n ds ha ve l o ved to

r e ar !

Fai r Yp res was a relic of the s oul of oth er d a y s ,


A poe t s dream a wanderer s delight

, ,

We will ke e p i t as a symbo l o f y our bru t e T e u


tonic ways ,
36 T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H R OU G H

That millions yet u n bor n may com e and curs e you


as they gaz e
A t this token o f y our imp ote n c e and spite .

For shame ,
my Lord of Wiirtem b er g ! Across
the Flemish Fen
S ee where the little army calls you .

It s j us t the

ol d familiar li ne of fty thousand
men ,

They v e be at you o n c e

or t wic e m y Lord but v en
, ,

tur e it again ,

C om e t r y y ou r l uck wha tev er fa t e b e fa ll s


, , y ou .
GROU SI NG

Th e arm y swo re te r r ibl y in Fla nder s .

UN C L E T O RY .

WH A T do th e so l di e rs sa y !
!
D am ! D am ! D am !
I do n t mind cold

,
I d on t min d he at

O ver the top for a S unday treat ,

With Fritz I ll
a lways take my s pell ,

But I like my grub and w h ere in he ll


,

I s the j am ! !

Wh a t do e s the o f c e r say!
!
D am ! D am ! D am !
M ud and misery ies and st en c h , ,

Piggin it here in a b e astly trench


B u t wha t I m e an b y Jov e
, , y ou see ,

37
38 T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H R O UG H

I lik e my men and they don t mi n d me

So ,
on the whole I d rather b e ,

W her e I am .

Wh at does the enemy s a y !


!
C olossal V e r d am !

They t old me when the war bega n


, ,

Th e B ritish Tommy always ran !


And s o he does j ust as th ey s aid , ,


But ,
it s straight ahead ,

Lik e a ram .

What does the public s a y !


!
D am ! D am ! D am !
They tax m e here they tax m e t he r e , ,

B read i s dear and th e cupboard bare ,

I m bound to grouse but i f it s the wa y


To win the war why th e n I ll p a y


!
Like a lamb .
THE VOLU N T E E R

( 1914 1 9 1 9 )

TH E dr e am s are pass ed and gone old m an , ,

That cam e to y ou and m e ,

Of a s ix days stunt on an east coast fr ont


An d th e H un with his back to the s ea .

Lord h ow w e worked and swotted s ore


, ,

To be t when the day should come !


Four years my lad and ve months more
, ,

S i n ce rs t we followed the dr um .

Though Follow th e dru m !


i s a bi t too grand ,

For we ran to no such frills !

It was j us t the whistles Of N ature s ban d

Tha t heartened us up the h i l ls .

39
40 T II E G U A RDS C A M E TH R OU G H

That and t he toot of the corporal s ute


U ntil h e could blow n o more ,

And the lilt o f !


S uss ex by the S ea ,

The marching s on g o f the corps .

Thos e hills ! M y word you would soo n get


,

B e you eve r s o stale and slack ,

I f you p ad it with rie and marching kit


T o R oth er el d H ill and b a
ck !

D rills in hall and drills outdoors


, ,

And drills o f every type ,

Till we wore our boots with formin g fours


And our coats with !
S houlder hip e ! !

N o glory ours ,
no swank ,
no p ay ,

On e dull eventles s gr ind !


Find yo urs el f, and nothing a da y
W er e the terms that the old boys si gn e d .
T H E GU A RD S C A M E THROUGH 41

Just drill and march and drill agai n ,

And swot at the O ld p arade ,

But they got t wo hundred thousand me n .

Not bad f or the old brigade !

A good two hundred thousand came ,

On th e chance of that east coast ght !


They may have been old and sti ff and lame,
But b y G eorge thei r hearts were righ t !
, ,

D iscipline ! My ! !
E yes right ! !
they cried ,

As we passed the drill hall door ,

And le ft it at thatso we marched cock e y ed -

F rom three to half p ast four


-
.

And solid ! Why a fter a real wet bout


,

In a hole in the Flanders mud


It would puz zle the B oche to fetch us o u t,


For we couldn t get out i f we would !
42 T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H ROU G H

S om e think w e could have s to od war s te s t

S ome s ay that we could not ,

B ut a chap c an only do his b e st,



And o ffer all he s got .

F al l o u t, the gu ard ! Th e ol d hom e gu ard !


P ile arms ! R ight tu rn ! D ismis s !
No

grousin g even i f
,
it s hard
To break ou r ranks like this .

We can t S how much in the way



of f
Fo r f ou r and a hal f years gone !

I f we d had ou r cha n c ej ust on e ! j us t on e

C arry on ,
ol d S por t carr y
, on !
THE N I GH T PAT R OL

S E P T E M B E R , 1 9 18

B E H IND me o n th e darkened p i e r
They crowd and chatter m an and maid , .

A coon son g gently strikes the ear


-

A apper giggl e s in th e shade .

T he r e where the in -
terned lantern gleams ,

I t shines on khaki an d on b rass !


Acros s its yellow slanting beams
The arm l ocked lovers s l ow ly pas s
-
.

Out In the darkn e s s one far light


Throbs like a pulse and fad e s awa y ,
.

S om e signal o n th e g uarded Wight


F rom H elen

s P oi nt to B e mbridge B ay .

43
44 T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H R OU G H

A n easter n wind blows chill and raw ,

C h e erl e ss a n d black t he waters li e ,

An d as I ga ze a t hwart th e h az e ,

I s ee the n ight p a tr o l go by .

C reepi n g shadows blur the gloom ,

Thick en a n d d arke n p ass and fad e !


,

A gain and y et agai n the y lo om ,

O ne rub y sp ark abov e each shad e

Twelve ships in all ! They glide so n ear ,

O ne hears the wave the for e foo t curled -


,

A n d yet to thos e upon th e pier


They s eem s om e other stern e r world .

T he coon
s ong whimpers to a wail ,

Th e t re ble laughter s inks a n d dies


Th e lo v ers clus ter on the rail ,

Wi th whisp e r e d wo rds a n d s t rai n ing e y e s .


T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H RO U G H 45

O ne hush of awe and then once more


,

The vision fades for them and m e ,

An d there laughter on the shore ,

And sil e n t du ty on the s ea .


T H E WR E C ! Mc GA R R Y

ON LO CH

IF y ou sh ould s earch all S cotland round ,

The mainland skerries and the islands


, ,

A grimmer spot could not be found


Than Loch Mc G arry in the H ighlands .

P ent in by frown in g mountains h igh ,

I t stretches silent a s the tomb ,

T u rbid and thick its waters lie ,

N 0 eye can pierce their yellow gloom .

T wa s here that on a summer da y

Four tourists hired a c r a zv W herry .

NO warning voices bade them stay ,

AS they pushed ou t on Loch Mc Gar ry .

46
THE GU A RD S C A M E T H R OU G H

Mc Fa r l an e C hairman o f the Board


, ,

A grim hard -
s ted son o f lucre ,

H is thoughts were ever on his hoard ,

And li fe a money game like -


,
E uchre .

B ob Ainslie late of London Town


, ,

A spruce youn g buttery Of


'

fashion
A wrinkle in his dressing gown -

Would rouse an apoplectic passion .

John Waters John the sel f


,
absorbed ,

With thoughts for ever inward bent ,

C omplacent s el f
,
contained , sel f orbed
-
,

Wrapped in etern al self con te n t -


.

Lastly coquettish M rs Wild .


,

C hattering rowdy empty headed !


, ,
-

At sight o f her th e whole world smiled ,

E xcept th e wretc h whom sh e had wedded .


48 T H E G U A RD S C A M E T H R O UG H

S uch wer e the fou r wh o sail e d tha t d a y,


To the H ighlands each a s t range r !
S unlit and calm the wide loch la y ,

W ith n ot a hint o f coming da n ge r .

D r i ftin g t hey watch e d th e h e a ther h ue ,

Th e waters and the cli ff s t hat bo un d them !


T he air was still the , sk y w as b l u e ,

D ec e i t ful p eac e la y a ll aro und t h e m .

Mc Fa rl an e po n der e d on th e s t ocks ,
J ohn Waters on h is o wn p e rfec t io n ,

B ob Ainsli e s though ts were



on his socks ,

A nd Mr s h er complexio n

. Wild s on .

When su dden oh , th a t dr e adfu l s cream !


Tha t c ry f rom p anic fear begot t e n !
Th e boat is gaping i n each s c am,

The worn -
out pla n ks ar e old a nd ro tten .
TH E GU A RD S C A M E T H ROU G H 49

With two small oars they work and strain ,

A long mile from the nearer shore


They ceas e
'

their e ff o rts are in vain !
S he s sinkin g fast and all is

, o er

.

The yell ow wat e r thick as p ap


, ,

Is crawling c rawling
,
to the thwarts !
And as t hey mark its upward lap ,

So fear goes crawling up their h e arts .

S lowly slowly thick as pap


, , ,

The creeping yellow waters ris e ,

Like drown in g mice within a trap ,

They stare around with frantic eyes .

Ah how clearly they could see


,

E very s in and shame and error !


H ow they vowed that s aints they d b e

I f delivered from this te r ror !


50 T HE GU A RD S C A M E T H ROU G H

H ow they squirmed and how they squ e a l e d !


H ow they shouted f or ass ista n ce !
H ow they fruitlessly appealed
To the shepherds in the distance !

H ow they sobbed and how they moaned ,

As the waters kept encroaching !


H ow they wept and storm ed and gro aned ,

As they saw their fate approaching !

And they vowed each good reso lve


S hould be permanent as gr an ite ,

N ever never, ,
to dis s olve ,

Firm and lastin g like ou r pla n et .

S e e them sit aghast and shrinking !


,

S urely it could not be true !


O h, have mercy ! Oh, we re sinkin g !

!
O h, good Lord what , s ha l l we do !
T H E GU A RD S C A M E TH ROUGH 51


Ah it s coming !
,
Now she founders !
S ee the crazy W herry r e el !
D ownward to the rocks she o un d e r s ,

Just on e foot beneath her keel !

In the shallow turbid water


,

Lay the saving reef belo w .

Oh, the waste o f high emotion !


O h, the useles s fear a n d woe !

Late that day fou r sopping tourists


TO their quarters m ade their way ,

And the brushes of Futurists


S carce coul d p aint their dis array .

And with hal f amused comp assion


-

They were viewed from the hotel ,

F rom the pulp clad beau -


Of fashion ,
To the saturated bell e .
52 T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H R O U GH

B u t a change was in their features ,

And that change has com e to tarry ,

Fo r they all are altered creatures


S ince the wr eck o f Loch Mc G ar ry .

No w Mc Fa r l a n e n ever utters

Any talk o f bills o r bu l lion ,

B ut continually m utters
T exas from C yril o r T ertullian .


As to Ainslie he s not caring
H ow the new cut collar lies
-
,

And has been detected wearing


D inner j ackets with whi te ties
-
.

Waters ,
wh o had never thought
In his li fe o f others needs

H as most gen erously bought


A nursin g hom e-
f or invalids .
GU A RDS C AME H ROU G H

TH E T 53


And the lady ah the lady !
,

S he has turned fr om paths o f S in,

her husban d s face


An d so shady
Now is brightened by a g rin .

SO misfortunes of to- day

Are the blessin gs o f to morrow -


,

And th e wisest cannot say


What is j oy and wh at is s orrow .

I f your s oul is arable


You ca n start this seed within it ,

An d my tiny p arable
M ay j us t help y ou to begi n it .
THE B IG OT

THE foolish R oman fondly thought


That gods m ust be the s ame to all ,

E ach alien idol might be brought


Within thei r broad P antheon H all .

Th e v isio n o f a j ealous Jove


Was far a bove their feebl e ke n !
The y had no Lord wh o gav e the m love ,

B ut scowled upon all oth e r m e n .

B ut in ou r dispe n s ation bright ,

W hat n obl e p rogress have w e made !


We kn ow tha t we ar e in t he light ,

A n d ou te r races i n the shad e .

O ur k i n dl y cr ee d ensur e s us th is
T h at Turk a n d in del an d J e w
54
TH E GU A RD S C A M E T H R OUG H 55

Are s a fe l y ba n ished from the blis s



That s g u aranteed to m e and you .

The R oman mothe r understoo d


That i f the babe upon her breas t
,

U ntimely died the gods were good


, ,


And the child s welfare mani fest .

With tende r guides the soul would go,

And there in some


,
E lys ian bower ,

The tiny bud plucked here below


Would ripen to the perfect ow e r .

P oor s impleton ! O ur faith m akes plain


That if no blest bapt ismal word
H as cleared the babe it bears the stai n
,

Which faithles s Adam had incurr ed .

H ow philosophical an aim !
H ow wis e and well conceived a plan !
-

Which holds t he new born bab e -


to blame
Fo r all th e sins o f e ar ly m a n .
56 T HE GU A RD S C A M E T H R OU G H

N ay sp e ak
,
no to f its tender grace ,

B ut hearken to ou r dogm a wis e


G uilt lies behind that dimpled face ,

And s in looks out from gentle eyes .

! uick quick the water and the b owl !


, ,

! uick with the words that li ft the load !


Oh, h asten er e that tiny soul
,

S hall pay the debt old Adam owed !

'

The R oman thought the soul s that erred


Would linger in some nether gloom ,

B ut s om ewhere ,
s ometime ,
would be spare d
TO nd s ome peace beyond th e tomb .

I n thos e dark halls ,


en s h a d ow ed , vas t,
They itted ever s ad and thi n
, ,

M ournin g th e un forgotten p ast


U ntil they shed th e t aint o f sin .

An d P luto brooded ove r a ll


Within that land of n igh t a nd fear ,
T H E GU A RDS C A M E T H R OU G H

E nthroned in s ome dark Jud gment H al l ,

A god himsel f reserved austere


, ,
.

H ow thin and colourless and tame !


C ompare our nobler s cheme with it ,

The howlin g sou ls th e leaping ame


, ,

And all the tortures o f the pit .

F oolish half hearted -


R oman hell !
TO us is lef t the higher thought

Of that eternal torture cell


Wh ereto th e s inne r shall be brou ht
O ut with th e thought that G od could share
Ou r weak relenting pity sense ,

Or e ve r condescend to spare
The wretch wh o gave H im j us t o ffence !

Tis j ust ten thousand years a


g o

S ince the vile s inner left his clay ,

And yet n o p ity can he kn ow ,

And as he l ies in hell to day


'

-
58 T HE GU A RD S C A M E T H ROU G H

SO wh en ten thousand years have run


S till shall he li e in endless night .

0 G od of Love ! 0 H oly O ne !

H ave we not read Thy ways aright !

The godly man in heaven shall dwell ,

And live in j oy before the throne ,

Though somewhere down in nether hell


H is wife or children writhe and groan .

F rom his bright E mpyrean height


He sees the reek from that abys s
What P aga n ever dreamed a sigh t
So holy and s ublime as this !

P oor foolish folk ! H ad they begu n


To weigh th e myths that they p ro fess e d ,

O ne hour of reason and each on e

Would surely stand a fraud con fessed .

Pretendin g to believe each de e d


Of Th e seus or of H e rcules ,
T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H ROUG H 59

Wi th fairy tales o f G a n ymede ,

And gods o f rocks a n d gods o f trees !

NO , n o, had they ou r purer light


They would have learned some saner t al e
O f B al aa m

s a s s, or S amson s m ight

Or prophet Jonah and his whale ,

Of talking serpents and their ways ,

Through which our foolish parents strayed ,

An d how there p assed three nights and days


B e fore the s u n or moon was made .

0 B igotry , y ou crowning s in !

All evil that a man can do

H as earthly bounds nor can begin,

To m atch the mischief done by y ou

You who would force the source o f l ov e


,

To play you r small sectarian par t ,

And mould the mercy from above


To t your own contrac te d he a rt .
THE A T H A B A S CA T R A I L

MY li fe i s glidin g downwards ! it sp e eds sw i ft e r

to th e day

When it shoots the last d ar k ca rio n the P l ai n s


to

o f Fa r away
-
,

B ut whil e its str e am i s r un ni n g th rough the ye ars

that ar e to be ,

Th e m i ghty v oice of C anada will ever cal l to

me .

I sha l l hear the roar o f rivers wh e r e th e rapids

foam and tear

I shall smell the virgin u pla n d with i t s balsam

laden air

And shall dream tha t I am ri d i n g down t h e wind

in g woody v ale ,
THE GU ARDS C A M E T H R OU G H 61

With the pack e r and the packhors e on the Atha


basca T rail .

I ha ve p ass e d t h e warde n cities at th e E astern

water gate -

Wh e re th e hero and t he mart y r laid the cor n er


s t on e o f S tat e ,

Th e habita n t , c ou r eu r -
d es bois
-
, and h ardy voy
a eu r
g

Wh e re liv e s a breed mo re stron g at n eed to ven


tu re or endure !
I have see n th e gorg e of E rie where the roaring
waters run ,

I ha ve cross ed the Inla n d O c e an , lying gold en i n


th e su n,

B ut the last and best and swe e tes t i s the rid e by


hill a n d dale ,

With the pack e r and th e packhorse on th e A th a


basca Trail .
62 T H E GU A RD S C AM E TH RO U GH

I ll dream again

of elds of grain that s t retch
from sky to sky

And th e little p rairi e hamlets wh e re the cars go


roaring by ,

Wooden hamlets as I saw them n oble citi e s s till


to be ,

To girdl e s t ately C anada with ge ms from sea to


se a .

M oth e r of a mighty m a nhood land ,


of glamour
an d of hope ,

From the eastward s ea swept islands -


to th e s u n ny
western S lop e ,

E ver more my heart is with you ever mor e til l ,

li fe sha l l fail
with p ack and pack e r on the Athabasca

I ll be ou t

T rail .
R A G T I ME !

! D
!
urin g the catastrophe the band of the
Titanic play e d negro melodies and ragtime until
!
the last moment when they broke int o a hymn
,
.

DAILY P AP ER !

R A G TI M E ! R agtime ! ! e e p it goin g still !


Let them hear the ragtim e ! Play it with a wil l !
Wome n in the lifeboats men upon the wreck
, ,

T ake h e a rt to hear the ragtim e lilting down th e


deck .

R agtime ! R agtime ! Yet another tune !


Now the D arkey D andy The Yel l ow
! !

, now !

C oo n ! !

B race against the bulwarks i f the stand s askew

Find your footing as you can but keep the mus ic ,

true
64 T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H R O U GH

There s glowin g hell be n eath us



W here th e shat
ter ed boilers roar ,

The ship i s listing an d awash ! th e bo ats w i l l ho l d


no more !

There s nothing more that y ou can d o and n oth
,

in g y ou can mend ,

O nly keep the ra gtime playing to the end .

D o n t f orget the tim e


,
boys ! E yes upon th e
score !
N ever h e e d the wavel e ts s obbin g down th e oor !
P lay it as you played it when with eager feet
A hundred pai r of dancers were stamping to the

bea t .

S tamping to the ragtim e down the lamp -


li t deck ,

With shin e of gl ossy linen and with gleam of


sn owy n eck ,

They ve other though t s



to t hink to- nigh t, and
o ther things to d o,
T H E GU AR D S C A M E T H R OU G H 65

B ut the ti n kle Of th e rag tim e may help to se e them


through .

S hut O ff , shut o ff the ragtime ! Th e li ghts ar e


falli n g low !
The deck i s bucklin g un der us ! S he s s inki n g b y

the bow !
On e hymn o f hop e from dyin g hands on dying
ears to fall
G entl y the m u sic fades awayand so, G od rest
us al l !
C H R I S T MA S I N WA R T I ME

1916

C H EER oh com rades we can


, ,
h id e the blast
And face the gloom until it shall grow lighter .

What though one C hris tmas should be overcast ,

I f duty don e makes all the oth e rs brigh te r .

191 7

TH E L AST L AP

We s e ldom were quick o ff th e m ark ,

And sprintin g was n ever our game !


insistence and hold for th e dis t a n ce

B ut when it s - - -
,

We v e n e v e r been

h e at at that s am e .

The rst lap was all to the H un ,

At the s econd w e still s aw h is bac k !


66
TH E GU A RD S C A M E T H R OU G H 67

B u t w e knew h ow to wait and to spurt down the


s t raight ,

Ti ll we le ft him dead bea t o n th e trac k


-
.

'

He b l u er

s a for all he i s worth ,

B ut he

s winded a n d done to th e cor e,
S o the last lap is h ere , with the tap e v er y n ear ,

And the old colours well to the for e .

N ot m e rry ! No th e words would gr a te ,

With gap s at e very table


side ,

B u t chas ten ed thankful calm s ed a te,


, , ,

B e y o u r vic t orious Ch ris t mas ti de -


.
L IND IS FA IR E

H ORS E S go down the din gy lane ,

B ut never a horse comes up again .

Th e greasy yard where the red hides lie

M arks the p l ac e w h ere th e hors e s di e .

Whea t was sinkin g year b y ye ar ,

I bought things ch e ap I sold th e m de ar !


,

R ent was h e avy a n d tax es high ,

An d a weary h e ar te d ma n was I
-
.

In L in d is f a ir e I walked my grounds ,

I h ad n t th e heart

to ride to hounds !

An d as I walked in black desp ai r ,

I s aw my o ld bay hun te r ther e .

68
TH E GU A RD S C A M E T H R O UG H

H e tr ied to nuz zle agains t my ch e ek


'

He looked the grief h e could not sp e ak !


B ut no cares s came back again ,

For harder times make harder m en .

M y thoughts were s et on stabl e rent ,

On money s aved and money spent ,

On weekly bills for forage lost ,

And all the old bay hunter cost .

For though a ier in the p ast ,

His days o f service lon g were past ,

H is gait was his eyes were dim


s ti , ,

And I could nd no u se for him .

I turned away with heart o f gloo m ,

And s ent for ! f ill my father s groom


,

Th e Ol d, Ol d groom whose worn out fac e


,
-

Was like the fortune o f ou r race .


70 THE GU A RD S C A M E T H R OUG H

I gav e my order S harp and hard ,

!
GO, ride him the knacker s yard !

to

He

ll fetch tw o pounds it may b e thre e !
,

S ell him and bring the price


,
to me .

I saw the ol d groom win ce awa y ,

He looked the thoughts he dared n ot s ay !

Then from his fob h e slowly drew


A l e ath e r pouch o f faded hu e .

!
M ast e r ,
s aid h e ,
!
my means are smal l ,

This purs e o f leather holds them all !


B ut I h ave n either kith nor kin ,

I ll pa y y our price for P rinc e s ski n



.

M y b roth e r rents the N ether Farm ,

A n d h e will hold him s afe from h arm


In th e gr e a t el d wh e r e h e m ay gr a ze,
!
A n d s ee th e n ish of his days .
TH E GU A RD S C A M E T H ROU G H 71

With dimming eyes I saw h im stand ,

T wo pounds were in his shaking ha n d !


I gav e a Curs e to drown the sob ,

An d thrust th e purs e withi n his f ob .

!
M ay G od do this and more to me
I f w e should ever part we three , ,

M aster and hors e and faith ful friend ,


We ll share together to th e end !


You ll think I m playin g it

on y ou ,

I give my w o rd t h e thin g is tr ue !
I hadn t hardly m ade the v ow

B e for e I h eard a vi e w h a l loo -


.

And lookin g roun d whom s h oul d I s ee,


, ,

B ut B ookie Johns on h ailin g m e !


Johnson the ma n, wh o b i lk e d the folks
When E th el r id a won the O aks .
72 T H E GU A RDS C A M E T H RO UG H

He drew a wad from ou t his ves t ,

H ere
!
are a thous and o f the best !
Luck s turned a bit with me o f late

And as you s e e I m getting straight


, ,

.

That s all

. M y luck was turning to o !

I f you have nothin g el s e to do ,

R un down som e day to L in d is f a ir e,

You ll nd th e old bay hun ter th e r e


.
A P AR AB L E

H I G H B RO W H O US E
-
was furnished w e ll
With many a goblet fair !
SO when they br o ught the H oly G rail ,

There was never a space to sp are .

S impl e C ottage was clear and clean ,

With room to s t ore at will


S o there they laid the H oly G rail ,

And there you ll nd it still



.
FA T E

I ! N O W n ot how I kn ow
And y et I know .

I do not plan to go,

And y et I g o .

There is s ome dim fo rce p rope ll ing ,

G ently gu idin g and comp elling ,

And a faint voice ever t e llin g


! !
This is so .

Th e path is rough and black


D ark as night
An d ther e li es a fairer trac k
I n the light .

Ye t I may not S hirk or shrink ,

For I feel the hands that l ink


74
TH E GU A RD S C A M E TH R O U G H 75

As t hey gu ide me on th e brink


Of the H eight .

B igots blame m e in their wrath .

L e t them blame !
P rais e or blame the fated p ath
,

Is the sam e .

I f I droop upon my mis sion ,

There is still that s aving visio n ,

I ridesc e nt and E lysian ,

Tipped i n am e .

It was gra n t e d m e to s tan d


By my d ead .

I h ave felt the vanished hand


On my head
On my brow the vanished lips ,

And I kn ow that D eath s eclips e

I s a oating veil that slips ,

Or is shed .
T H E GU A RD S C A M E T H RO U G H

When I h eard thy well known v oic e -


,

S on of mine ,

S hould I S ilently rej oice ,

Or incline
To s t rike harder as a ght e r ,

That th e heavy might b e light e r!


And the gloom y might be brigh t e r
A t the S ign !

G reat G uide I ask , y ou s t i ll,


! !
Wherefore I !

B ut if it b e thy will
That I try ,

T race my p athway amon g m e n ,

S how m e how to strike and wh en


, ,

Tak e m e to the gh t an d th en ,

O h, b e n igh !

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