Then and Now


Then and Now was published in the anthology, A Treasury of War Poetry: British and American Poems of the World War 1914-1917 (1917).
Then and Now
55th Division, Battle of Estaires, 1918
When battles were fought
With a chivalrous sense of should and ought,
      In spirit men said,
      "End we quick or dead,
      Honour is some reward!
Let us fight fair—for our own best or worst;
      So, Gentlemen of the Guard,
          Fire first!"

      In the open they stood,
Man to man in his knightlihood:
      They would not deign
      To profit by a stain
      On the honourable rules,
Knowing that practise perfidy no man durst
      Who in the heroic schools
          Was nurst.

      But now, behold, what
Is war with those where honour is not!
      Rama laments
      Its dead innocents;
      Herod howls: "Sly slaughter
Rules now! Let us, by modes once called accurst,
      Overhead, under water,
          Stab first."
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