Poems of the Great War/The Man who Keeps his Head

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The Man who Keeps his Head
by Edward Harold Begbie


THE MAN WHO KEEPS HIS HEAD


THERE'S a man who fights for England, and
      he'll keep her still atop,
He will guard her from dishonour in the market
      and the shop,
He will save her homes from terror on the fields of
      Daily Bread,
He's the man who sticks to business, he's the man
      who keeps his head.

Let the foe who strikes at England hear her wheels
      of commerce turn,
Let the ships that war with England see her factory
      furnace burn;
For the foe most fears the cannon, and his heart
      most quails with dread
When behind the man in khaki is the man who
      keeps his head.

Brand him traitor and assassin who with miser's
      coward mood
Has his gold locked up in secret and his larders
      stored with food,

Who has cast adrift his workers, who lies sweating
      in his bed,
And who snarls to hear the laughter of the man
      Who keeps his head.

Let the poor man teach the rich man, for the poor
      man's constant strife
Is from day to day to seek work, day by day to war
      with life,
And the poor man's home hangs ever by a frail and
      brittle thread,
And the poor man's often hungry, but the poor
      man keeps his head.

When the ships come back from slaughter, and the
      troops march home from war;
When the havoc strewn behind us threats the road
      that lies before,
Every hero shall be welcomed, every orphan shall
      be fed,
By the man who stuck to business, by the man who
      kept his head.