England, August 1914

By George Sterling

Southward again on ancient roads of war,
    Beyond the Narrow Seas thy legions flow,
    Where wait the battle-fields of long-ago,
Ramparts thy lion-flag hath known before,
And cities where they crowned thee conqueror.
    Depart the youthful ranks that cannot know
    As yet the power and malice of the foe,
But know what vow those perjured lips forswore.

Thy war is for the sanctity of pledge—
    Whether the word of man to man endure,
        Or that his bond be as a rope of sand.
Forth! till the world be cleansed of sacrilege,
    And those antique foundations rest secure
        On which the pillars of the Temple stand!

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