My usual habit on Sundays is to post religious poems. The main source of these remains George Herbert’s The Temple. This is one of those books where a hard copy is a good thing, because I can see that it will become harder to find on the interwebs.
As it is ANZAC day, I will compare this with a poem that has one stanza recited at the nationalist service that woke us up this morning. Most people don’t realize the poem it came from, and that it is a considerable step down in quality from Herbert. Deeply unfashionable Herbert.
KIll me not ev’ry day,
Thou Lord of life; since thy one death for me
Is more then all my deaths can be,
Though I in broken pay
Die over each hour of Methusalems1 stay.
If all mens tears were let
Into one common sewer, sea, and brine;
What were they all, compar’d to thine?
Wherein if they were set,
They would discolour thy most bloudy sweat.
Thou art my grief alone,
Thou Lord conceal it not: and as thou art
All my delight, so all my smart;
Thy cross took up in one,
By way of imprest, all my future mone.
George Herbert, The Temple, 1633
This has one stanza recited: They will not grow old… we will remember them. But the poem was early in the first world war, and related to the home of the empire, England. We use it in part. As a poem, it is not that good.
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Laurence Binyon Source: The London Times (1914)
It is worth noting that the woke are making their statements in Te Reo (Maori). Maori could not serve in the first world war: their population was decimated to the point that the late Victorians spent considerable effort improving public health on Marae (villages) because we thought they would be wiped out.
But now, the Pakeha is despise, as is Christianity. We need to recall this: that after the time of Herbert was the time of Cromwell. Things will change.