Miserere

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GONE is now the boast of power,
Strength to strike our foes again,
God of battles in this hour
Give us strength to suffer pain.
Lest the spirit's chains be rent.
Lest the coward flesh go free
Unto thee our prayer is sent,
   Miserere Domine.

Death unseen beneath our feet.
Death above us in the sky,
Now before Thy judgment-seat
Grant us honourably to die.
Lustful, sinful, careless all.
In the martyr's road are we.
Lest from that high path we fall.
   Miserere Domine.

Men that mocked Thee to Thy face,
Fools who took Thy name in vain —
Grant that in this deadly place
Jests and blasphemy remain.
On the pallid face of death,
Gasping slow and painfully
Curses with its latest breath.
   Miserere Domine.

Where we see the men we know
Rags of broken flesh and bone,
And the thing that hurt them so
Seems to wait for us alone.
Where the silence of the grave
Broods and threatens soundlessly,
On the souls we cannot save,
   Miserere Domine.

La Boisselle, 1915