Τέτλαθι δὴ κραδίη

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
A Highland Regiment and Other Poems by Ewart Alan Mackintosh
Τέτλαθι δὴ κραδίη

WHERE the light wraith of death goes dancing
In and out of the wavering line,
Now retreating and now advancing
Till opposite you he makes the sign,
Though the wind of his breath be on you,
Though in your flesh you feel the smart,
There have been worse things laid upon you,
Be steadfast and endure my heart.

There is no need of honour for you,
There is no gift the gods can send,
Only the weary days before you.
Only endurance to the end.
This remains that in all temptation
Still your head shall be lifted high.
You that have known a worse damnation.
Why should you be afraid to die ?

You that are dead and damned already,
How should you be afraid of death ?
Strength remains to you firm and steady
Enduring still to your latest breath,
Eyes to see and ears for hearing,
Things and words you would fain forget,
And anger to slay the snake of fearing
That lives in the heart of the dead man yet.

Fear? If hope is a thing forgotten.
What can you fear the gods will do ?
If the heart and kernel of life is rotten
What is the husk to trouble you ?
Stand up straight to your work, be strong, lad.
Never a fear of bullet or shell.
You that have lived in hell for long, lad.
Needn't be fearing to die in hell.

Thiepval, 1915