THE LESSON OF THE WAR POEM (1855) by Adelaide Anne Procter

Poetry from Legends and Lyrics First Series.

Adelaide Anne Procter


The feast is spread through England
For rich and poor to-day;
Greetings and laughter may be there,
But thoughts are far away;
Over the stormy ocean,
Over the dreary track,
Where some are gone, whom England
Will never welcome back.

Breathless she waits, and listens
For every eastern breeze
That bears upon its bloody wings
News from beyond the seas.
The leafless branches stirring
Make many a watcher start;
The distant tramp of steed may send
A throb from heart to heart.

The rulers of the nation,
The poor ones at their gate,
With the same eager wonder
The same great news await.
The poor man’s stay and comfort,
The rich man’s joy and pride,
Upon the bleak Crimean shore
Are fighting side by side.

The bullet comes—and either
A desolate hearth may see;
And God alone to-night knows where
The vacant place may be!
The dread that stirs the peasant
Thrills nobles’ hearts with fear—
Yet above selfish sorrow
Both hold their country dear.

The rich man who reposes
In his ancestral shade,
The peasant at his ploughshare,
The worker at his trade,
Each one his all his perilled,
Each has the same great stake,
Each soul can but have patience,
Each heart can only break!

Hushed is all party clamour;
One thought in every heart,
One dread in every household,
Has bid such strife depart.
England has called her children;
Long silent—the word came
That lit the smouldering ashes
Through all the land to flame.

Oh you who toil and suffer,
You gladly heard the call;
But those you sometimes envy
Have they not given their all?
Oh you who rule the nation,
Take now the toil-worn hand—
Brothers you are in sorrow,
In duty to your land.
Learn but this noble lesson
Ere Peace returns again,
And the life-blood of Old England
Will not be shed in vain.

Adelaide Anne Procter – Legends and Lyrics First Series

Legends and Lyrics First Series by Adelaide Anne Procter