The re-enchantment of Edward Melbourne

“Before Action”

By all the glories of the day, and the cool evening’s benison

By that last sunset touch that lay, upon the hills when day was done

By beauty lavishly outpoured, and blessings carelessly received

By all the days that I have lived, make me a soldier, Lord.

By all of all man’s hopes and fears, and all the wonders poets sing

The laughter of unclouded years, and every sad and lovely thing

By the romantic ages stored, with high endeavour that was his

By all his mad catastrophes, make me a man, O Lord.

I, that on my familiar hill, saw with uncomprehending eyes

A hundred of thy sunsets spill, their fresh and sanguine sacrifice

Ere the sun swings his noonday sword, must say good-bye to all of this

By all delights that I shall miss, help me to die, O Lord.

Edward Melbourne (W. N. Hodgson, 1916 – Written two days before he died in battle in WWI)

posted by BMC 2/19/12


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