THEY took us from the country-side,
From lodge and park and stable-yard,
From leaf and lane and homeward ride,
And oh! they made the papers hard !
Good Lord ! They made 'em hard!
They took us from the East and West
And set us on a thousand stools,
And told us we must do our best,
And taught us half a hundred rules
Oh, Lord! Dull, crammer's rules!
And soul and body quick resigned,
We put the better part away,
And leaving half a life behind,
We crammed for seven hours a day.
Oh, Lord ! Day after day !
Our elder brothers came to see,
And marvelled much, and went; but then
They couldn't do a Rule of Three,
And we were learning to be men.
Oh, Lord ! It made us Men!
They scattered us across the seas
And bandied us from shore to shore,
And killed a few-in twos and threes
And wept, and sent a dozen more.
Oh, Lord! They've plenty more!
The ties, the friends, the life at home,
The other things we might have been,
The songs of Greece, the pomp of Rome,
Were clean forgot at seventeen.
Oh, Lord! At seventeen
But swung and ripped and torn and swirled,
Thy gales above, Thy depths below,
Through all the Seas of all the World
The slamming battle-squadrons go.
Oh, Lord ! They have to go!
While we, on heaving bridge and rail,
By Heaven and short experience led,
Across the thunder of the gale
Keep station on the next ahead.
Oh, Lord! Two lights ahead !
We know not who were Zeus' sons,
Nor names of gods and heroes fine,
But we can take ten thousand tons
And lift 'em, snorting, into line.
Oh, Lord! In steady line!
We know not who, in ancient days,
Of Persia's army led the van,
But we can tell you twenty ways
Of dealing with a drunken man.
Oh, Lord! Beware the can!
And we can dance and see the fun,
And wonder at the Sea and Sky,
And train and lay a turret-gun,
And laugh and work and fight and die.
Ah, Lord! All men must die !
But if again the Day be near
When Europe and the world shall know,
May every signal flutter clear And-
Heaven have mercy on the foe
Oh, Lord! Receive that foe!
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