Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SWORD OF LAFAYETTE (INSCRIBED TO RAYMOND POINCARE), by ROBERT UNDERWOOD JOHNSON



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THE SWORD OF LAFAYETTE (INSCRIBED TO RAYMOND POINCARE), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: It was the time of our despair
Last Line: The sacred sword of lafayette.
Subject(s): Lafayette, Marie Joseph, Marquis De; World War I; First World War


IT was the time of our despair,
When lion-hearted Washington --
That man of patience and of prayer --
Looked sadly at each rising sun.
In all the freedom-breeding air,
Of hope and rescue there was none.
When lo! -- as down from Heaven let,
There came the sword of Lafayette!

Our harbors -- how they danced with light!
Our tireless bells -- how they did ring!
Again we girded up to fight
Not England, but her Prussian king.
For here was succor, and the might
Of one great soul's imagining . . .
What wonder if our eyes be wet
To see the sword of Lafayette!

Upon the walls where Justice keeps
The swords she doth most gladly save,
Not one of all so deeply sleeps
Within the scabbard's honored grave
But, listening for her call, it leaps,
To live again among the brave.
Thank Heaven our naked blade is set
Beside the sword of Lafayette!

Not his, not ours, the brutal strife,
The vulgar greed of soil or dross;
The feet that follow drum and fife
Shall tread to nobler gain or loss.
'T is for the holiness of life
The Spirit calls us to the Cross.
Forget us, God, if we forget
The sacred sword of Lafayette.





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