Thursday, 13 August 2009

The Volunteer

In the wake of the recent deaths of Henry Allingham and Harry Patch, our very last World War I veterans, here is a poem I love: The Volunteer by Herbert Asquith Here lies the clerk who half his life had spent Toiling at ledgers in a city grey, Thinking that so his days would drift away With no lance broken in life's tournament: Yet ever 'twixt the books and his bright eyes The gleaming eagles of the legions came, And horsemen, charging under phantom skies, Went thundering past beneath the oriflamme. And now those waiting dreams are satisfied; From twilight to the halls of dawn he went; His lance is broken; but he lies content With that high hour, in which he lived and died, And falling thus, he wants no recompense, Who found his battle in the last resort; Nor needs he any hearse to bear him hence, Who goes to join the men of Agincourt.

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