Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THEN AND NOW, by THOMAS HARDY

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THEN AND NOW, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: When battles were fought
Last Line: Stab first.'
Subject(s): World War I; First World War

WHEN battles were fought
With a chivalrous sense of Should and Ought,
In spirit men said,
'End we quick or dead,
Honour is some reward!
Let us fight fair - for our own best or worst;
So, Gentlemen of the Guard,
Fire first!'

In the open they stood,
Man to man in his knightlihood:
They would not deign
To profit by a stain
On the honourable rules,
Knowing that practise perfidy no man durst
Who in the heroic schools
Was nurst.

But now, behold, what
Is warfare wherein honour is not!
Rama laments
Its dead innocents:
Herod breathes: 'Sly slaughter
Shall rule! Let us, by modes once called accurst,
Overhead, under water,
Stab first.'

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