Poems of the Great War/Pro Patria

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For works with similar titles, see Pro Patria.
Pro Patria
by Owen Seaman


PRO PATRIA


ENGLAND, in this great fight to which you go
   Because, where Honour calls you, go you must,
Be glad, whatever comes, at least to know
              You have your quarrel just.

Peace was your care; before the nations' bar
   Her cause you pleaded and her ends you sought;
But not for her sake, being what you are,
              Could you be bribed and bought.

Others may spurn the pledge of land to land,
   May with the brute sword stain a gallant past;
But by the seal to which you set your hand,
              Thank God, you still stand fast!

Forth, then, to front that peril of the deep
   With smiling lips and in your eyes the light,
Stedfast and confident, of those who keep
              Their storied scutcheon bright.

And we, whose burden is to watch and wait—
   High-hearted ever, strong in faith and prayer,
We ask what offering we may consecrate,
              What humble service share.

To steel our souls against the lust of ease;
   To find our welfare in the general good;
To hold together, merging all degrees
              In one wide brotherhood;—

To teach that he who saves himself is lost;
   To bear in silence though our hearts may bleed;
To spend ourselves, and never count the cost,
              For others' greater need;—

To go our quiet ways, subdued and sane;
   To hush all vulgar clamour of the street;
With level calm to face alike the strain
              Of triumph or defeat;—

This be our part, for so we serve you best,
   So best confirm their prowess and their pride,
Your warriors sons, to whom in this high test
              Our fortunes we confide.