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"Will you go to war just for a scrap of paper?" -- Question
of the German Chancellor to the British Ambassador,
August 5, 1914.

A mocking question! Britain's answer came
Swift as the light and searching as the flame.

"Yes, for a scrap of paper we will fight
Till our last breath, and God defend the right!

"A scrap of paper where a name is set
Is strong as duty's pledge and honor's debt.

"A scrap of paper holds for man and wife
The sacrament of love, the bond of life.

"A scrap of paper may be Holy Writ
With God's eternal word to hallow it.

"A scrap of paper binds us both to stand
Defenders of a neutral neighbor land.

"By God, by faith, by honor, yes! We fight
To keep our name upon that paper white."

September, 1914.


          Stand fast, Great Britain!
Together England, Scotland, Ireland stand
One in the faith that makes a mighty land,
True to the bond you gave and will not break
And fearless in the fight for conscience' sake!
Against the Giant Robber clad in steel,
With blood of trampled Belgium on his heel,
Striding through France to strike you down at last,
          Britain, stand fast !

          Stand fast, brave land!
The Huns are thundering toward the citadel;
They prate of Culture but their path is Hell;
Their light is darkness, and the bloody sword
They wield and worship is their only Lord.
O land where reason stands secure on right,
O land where freedom is the source of light,
Against the mailed Barbarians' deadly blast,
          Britain, stand fast!

          Stand fast, dear land!
Thou island mother of a world-wide race,
Whose children speak thy tongue and love thy face,
Their hearts and hopes are with thee in the strife,
Their hands will break the sword that seeks thy life;
Fight on until the Teuton madness cease;
Fight bravely on, until the word of peace
Is spoken in the English tongue at last,
          Britain, stand fast!

September, 1914.


"Lights out" along the land,
"Lights out" upon the sea.
The night must put her hiding hand
O'er peaceful towns where children sleep,
And peaceful ships that darkly creep
Across the waves, as if they were not free.

The dragons of the air,
The hell-hounds of the deep,
Lurking and prowling everywhere,
Go forth to seek their helpless prey,
Not knowing whom they maim or slay--
Mad harvesters, who care not what they reap.

Out with the tranquil lights,
Out with the lights that burn
For love and law and human rights!
Set back the clock a thousand years:
All they have gained now disappears,
And the dark ages suddenly return.

Kaiser who loosed wild death,
And terror in the night--
God grant you draw no quiet breath,
Until the madness you began
Is ended, and long-suffering man,
Set free from war lords, cries, "Let there be Light."

October, 1915.

Read at the meeting of the American Academy,
Boston, November, 1915.


"God said I am tired of kings."--EMERSON

God said, "I am tired of kings,"--
But that was a long while ago!
And meantime man said, "No,--
I like their looks in their robes and rings."
So he crowned a few more,
And they went on playing the game as before,
Fighting and spoiling things.

Man said, "I am tired of kings!
Sons of the robber-chiefs of yore,
They make me pay for their lust and their war;
I am the puppet, they pull the strings;
The blood of my heart is the wine they drink.
I will govern myself for awhile I think,
And see what that brings!"

Then God, who made the first remark,
Smiled in the dark.

October, 1915.

Read at the meeting of the American Academy,
Boston, November, 1915.


     Break off! Dance no more!
          Danger is at the door.
          Music is in arms.
     To signal war's alarms.

Hark, a sudden trumpet calling
     Over the hill!
Why are you calling, trumpet, calling?
     What is your will?

     Men, men, men !
Men who are ready to fight
For their country's life, and the right
Of a liberty-loving land to be
     Free, free, free!
Free from a tyrant's chain,
Free from dishonor's stain,
Free to guard and maintain
All that her fathers fought for,
All that her sons have wrought for,
     Resolute, brave, and free!

     Call again, trumpet, call again,
          Call up the men!
          Do you hear the storm of cheers
     Mingled with the women's tears
And the tramp, tramp, tramp of marching feet?
     Do you hear the throbbing drum
     As the hosts of battle come
Keeping time, time, time to its beat?
     O Music give a song
     To make their spirit strong
For the fury of the tempest they must meet.

     The hoarse roar
     Of the monster guns;
     And the sharp bark
     Of the lesser guns;
     The whine of the shells,
     The rifles' clatter
     Where the bullets patter,
     The rattle, rattle, rattle
     Of the mitrailleuse in battle,
     And the yells
     Of the men who charge through hells
     Where the poison gas descends,
     And the bursting shrapnel rends
     Limb from limb
     In the dim
     Chaos and clamor of the strife
     Where no man thinks of his life
     But only of fighting through,
     Blindly fighting through, through!
     'Tis done
     At last!
     The victory won,
The dissonance of warfare past!

     O Music mourn the dead
     Whose loyal blood was shed,
And sound the taps for every hero slain;
     Then lead into the song
     That made their spirit strong,
And tell the world they did not die in vain.

Thank God we can see, in the glory of morn,
     The invincible flag that our fathers defended;
And our hearts can repeat what the heroes have sworn,
     That war shall not end till the war-lust is ended.
Then the bloodthirsty sword shall no longer be lord
Of the nations oppressed by the conqueror's horde,
     But the banners of freedom shall peacefully wave
     O'er the world of the free and the lands of the brave.

May, 1916.


If Might made Right, life were a wild-beasts' cage;
If Right made Might, this were the golden age;
But now, until we win the long campaign,
Right must gain Might to conquer and to reign.

July 1, 1915.


Peace without Justice is a low estate,--
A coward cringing to an iron Fate!
But Peace through Justice is the great ideal,--
We'll pay the price of war to make it real.

December 28, 1916.


O Music hast thou only heard
The laughing river, the singing bird,
The murmuring wind in the poplar-trees,--
Nothing but Nature's melodies?
    Nay, thou hearest all her tones,
      As a Queen must hear!
      Sounds of wrath and fear,
      Mutterings, shouts, and moans,
    Madness, tumult, and despair,
    All she has that shakes the air
    With voices fierce and wild!
Thou art a Queen and not a dreaming child,--
Put on thy crown and let us hear thee reign
Triumphant in a world of storm and strain!

     Echo the long-drawn sighs
Of the mounting wind in the pines;
And the sobs of the mounting waves that rise
     In the dark of the troubled deep
To break on the beach in fiery lines.
     Echo the far-off roll of thunder,
           Rumbling loud
     And ever louder, under
     The blue-black curtain of cloud,
     Where the lightning serpents gleam.
          Echo the moaning
     Of the forest in its sleep
     Like a giant groaning
In the torment of a dream.

     Now an interval of quiet
     For a moment holds the air
     In the breathless hush
     Of a silent prayer.

     Then the sudden rush
     Of the rain, and the riot
     Of the shrieking, tearing gale
     Breaks loose in the night,
     With a fusillade of hail!
     Hear the forest fight,
With its tossing arms that crack and clash
     In the thunder's cannonade,
     While the lightning's forked flash
Brings the old hero-trees to the ground with a crash!
Hear the breakers' deepening roar,
     Driven like a herd of cattle
     In the wild stampede of battle,
Trampling, trampling, trampling, to overwhelm the shore!

     Is it the end of all?
     Will the land crumble and fall?
     Nay, for a voice replies
     Out of the hidden skies,
"Thus far, O sea, shalt thou go,
So long, O wind, shalt thou blow:
Return to your bounds and cease,
And let the earth have peace!"

O Music, lead the way--
     The stormy night is past,
Lift up our hearts to greet the day,
     And the joy of things that last.

The dissonance and pain
     That mortals must endure,
Are changed in thine immortal strain
     To something great and pure.

True love will conquer strife,
     And strength from conflict flows,
For discord is the thorn of life
     And harmony the rose.

May, 1916.

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