Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO HIS EXCELLENCY, by ROBERT SEYMOUR BRIDGES

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TO HIS EXCELLENCY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: One of all our brave commanders
Last Line: In the streets of proud berlin.'
Alternate Author Name(s): Bridges, Robert+(2)
Subject(s): World War I; First World War

ONE of all our brave commanders,
Near of kin and dear my friend,
Led his men in France and Flanders
From the first brush to the end:

Peril lov'd he, and undaunted
Sought it out, and thanked his stars
That to him a place was granted
In the worst of all the wars.

He brought Uhlans in from Soignies,
Where the first blood was let out—
With his remnant from Andregnies
Saved St. Quentin's desperate rout.

Stiffly fought he through the onset
Undishearten'd by defeat;
Held the rear from dawn to sunset
Through the long days of retreat.

Times were, to retake the trenches
He dismounted his dragoons,
Suck'd his share of gas and stenches
With lieutenants of platoons.

Hit by howitzers and snipers
He in his five years campaign
Rode the land from Reims to Wipers,
On the Marne and on the Aisne.

Many deeds would be to blazon,
Many fights, to tell them all;
Niewport, Witchet, Contalmaison,
La Boiselle and Passendaal.

Nothing in his clean vocation
Vex'd his soul or came amiss,
From the hurried embarcation
To the fateful armistice:

But when terms of truce were bruited,
Then his cheery countenance fell
In confession undisputed
That things were not going well:

'Nay (he said), my hope was larger;
'Twas not thus I look'd to win:
I had vow'd to rein my charger
In the streets of proud Berlin.'

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