TYPICAL EXAMPLES ARE RUPERT BROOKE'S 'PEACE',
R. D. GREENWAY'S 'SOLDIERS BATHING',
FABER'S 'KILLED IN ACTION', AND
RICHARD DENNYS'S 'BETTER
FAR TO PASS AWAY'
Dennys, 'Better Far to Pass Away'
Better far to pass away
While the limbs are strong and young,
Ere the ending of the day,
Ere Youth's lusty song be sung,
Hot blood pulsing through the veins,
Youth's high hope a burning fire,
Young men needs must break the chains
That hold them from their heart's
My friends the hills, the sea, the sun,
The winds, the woods, the clouds,
the trees -
How feebly, if my youth were done,
Could I, an old man, relish these!
With laughter, then, I'll go to greet
What Fate has still in store for
And welcome Death if we should meet,
And bear him willing company.
My share of fourscore years and ten
I'll gladly yield to any man,
And take no thought of 'where' or 'when',
Contented with my shorter span.
For I have learned what love may be,
And found a heart that understands,
And known a comrade's constancy,
And felt the grip of friendly hands.
Come when it may, the stern decree
For me to leave the cheery throng
And quit the sturdy company
Of brothers that I work among.
No need for me to look askance,
Since no regret my prospect mars.
My day was happy - and perchance
The coming night is full of stars.
Lads: Love Poetry of the Trenches, ed. Martin Taylor, London, 1998,