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Men Who March Away: By Thomas Hardy

Editor's note: For Veterans Day, we reprint these two war poems from World War I.

What of the faith and fire within us

Men who march away Ere the barn-cocks say Night is growing gray,

To hazards whence no tears can win us;

What of the faith and fire within us

Men who march away!



Is it a purblind prank, O think you,

Friend with the musing eye

Who watch us stepping by,

With doubt and dolorous sigh?

Can much pondering so hoodwink you?

Is it a purblind prank, O think you,

Friend with the musing eye?



Nay. We see well what we are doing,

Though some may not see—

Dalliers as they be—

England's need are we;

Her distress would leave us rueing:

Nay. We well see what we are doing,

Though some may not see!



In our heart of hearts believing

Victory crowns the just,

And that braggarts must

Surely bite the dust,

Press we to the field ungrieving,

In our heart of hearts believing

Victory crowns the just.



Hence the faith and fire within us

Men who march away

Ere the barn-cocks say

Night is growing gray,

To hazards whence no tears can win us;

Hence the faith and fire within us

Men who march away.


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