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Songs


XCVII

The Soldier Speaks

WITHIN my heart I safely keep,
England, what things are yours:
Your clouds, and cloud-like flocks of sheep
That drift o'er windy moors.
Possessing naught, I proudly hold
Great hills and little, gay
Hill-towns set black on sunrise-gold
At breaking of the day.


Though unto me you be austere
And loveless, darling land;
Though you be cold and hard, my dear,
And will not understand,
Yet have I fought and bled for you,
And, by that self-same sign,
Still must I love you, yearn to you,
England—how truly mine!


XCVIII

The Drum

"Come to me, and I will give you flesh"

Old Pibrochadh

COME!
Says the drum;
Though graves be hollow,
Yet follow, follow:
Come!
Says the drum.


Life!
Shrills the fife,
Is in strife—
Leave love and wife:
Come!
Says the drum.


Ripe!
Screams the pipe,
Is the field—
Swords and not sickles wield:
Come!
Says the drum.


The drum
Says, Come!
Though graves be hollow,
Yet follow, follow:
Come!
Says the drum.


XCIX

Home-coming

THERE is peace in this house,
He is come again;
He is here, he is close,
He, for whom they were fain;
There is peace in this house.


There is gladness and joy
For the safe return
Of this man, that was boy
Ere the year did turn;
There is gladness and joy.


There is sorrow to tell
For his grim-born pain;
He went down into hell,
Saw his comrades slain;
There is sorrow as well.


Above all, there is pride
For the deeds he wrought;
He would gladly have died,
Could his life purchase aught;
There is pride! There is pride!


C

In Flanders

I'M homesick for my hills again—
My hills again!
To see above the Severn plain,
Unscabbarded against the sky,
The blue high blade of Cotswold lie;
The giant clouds go royally
By jagged Malvern with a train
Of shadows. Where the land is low
Like a huge imprisoning O
I hear a heart that's sound and high,
I hear the heart within me cry:
"I'm homesick for my hills again—
My hills again!
Cotswold or Malvern, sun or rain!
My hills again!"


CI

The Broken Heart

I FOUND a silver sixpence,
A sixpence, a sixpence,
I found a silver sixpence,
And I brake it in twa;
I gied it till a sodger,
A sodger, a sodger,
I gied it till a sodger,
Before he gaed awa'.


I have a heart that's broken,
That's broken, that's broken;
I bear a heart that's broken,
That's broken in twa—
For I gied it till a sodger,
A sodger, a sodger,
I gied it till a sodger,
Before he gaed awa'!


CII

The Willow-tree Bough

MY heart's at the war with a good-natured rifleman
Where he stands firing his foemen to slay:
While he was home with us, laughter and liveliness—
Night time or church time 'twas all holiday.
Friends who fall in with a good-natured rifleman
Tell him his Helen abides by her vow
Just as she swore when her William, last January,
Carved his sweet name on the willow-tree bough.


He's got moustaches, a good-natured rifleman,
Curled at each end like the fiery young moon,
Yes, and he marches so deft and delightfully,
All the old streets here still echo the tune.
Now that he's given himself up for a soldier,
All over the world his brave body to show,
How can you wonder that I in my anxiousness
Weep with my eyes on the willow-tree bough?


Here's to their health, the green-jacketed gentlemen,
Scouring their enemies over the plain,
Fighting like seals in a lickerish estuary
Soon may old Winchester see them again—
Soon may the children, are yet to be born to me,
Standing around like young shoots in a row,
Hark to the eldest one spelling so easily
Worm-eaten words on the willow-tree bough.


CIII

Low Germany

To be Sung to the Tune of "High Germany"

NO more the English girls may go
To follow with the drum,
But still they flock together
To see the soldiers come;
For horse and foot are marching by,
And the bold artillery:
They're going to the cruel wars
In Low Germany.


They're marching down by lane and town
And they are hot and dry,
But as they marched together
I heard the soldiers cry:
"Oh all of us, both horse and foot,
And the proud artillery,
We're going to the merry wars
In Low Germany."