The Author A. E. Housman

Wake Not For The World-Heard Thunder


Wake not for the world-heard thunder, 
Nor the chimes that earthquakes toll; 
Stars may plot in heaven with planet, 
Lightning rive the rock of granite, 
Tempest tread the oakwood under, 
Fear not you for flesh or soul; 
Marching, fighting, victory past, 
Stretch your limbs in peace at last. 

Stir not for the soldier's drilling, 
Nor the fever nothing cures; 
Throb of drum and timbal's rattle 
Call but men alive to battle, 
And the fife with death-notes filling 
Screams for blood--but not for yours. 
Times enough you bled your best; 
Sleep on now, and take your rest. 

Sleep, my lad; the French have landed, 
London's burning, Windsor's down. 
Clasp your cloak of earth about you; 
We must man the ditch without you, 
March unled and fight short-handed, 
Charge to fall and swim to drown. 
Duty, friendship, bravery o'er, 
Sleep away, lad; wake no more. 


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It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.