BETA

LINES

SUGGESTED BY THE GREEK MASSACRE.

White angels, listening all around1
The terror, wrath, and strife of men,2
For faint heroic notes that sound3
Through the mean tumult now and then,4
What heard ye, that your waiting eyes5
Received such rapture in their calm,6
As if, through common agonies,7
They saw the halo and the palm ?8
We only heard the bitter wail9
Of hearts that break, and prayers that fail ;10
We only saw the shame, the pain,11
Of England on her knees in vain,12
Pleading for sons ignobly slain ;13
A fruitless death, and helpless tears,14
To scar and stain the coming years15
With savage infamy of crime16
Thrust through our tender modern Time.17
On this grand soil, which year by year18
Renews its unforgotten bloom19
Of deeds which Time but makes more clear,20
And deaths which nothing can entomb,21
They fell, but did not add a name22
To Earth’s broad characters of gold ;23
There, in the citadel of Fame,24
They died with nothing to be told,25
While schoolboy memories thronged their ears26
With echoes from the calling years,27
And brought the happy Morning back28
As closed the darkness, cold and black ;29
How fair was Life when first they read30
Of these familiar, glorious themes !31
The classic ground which holds them, dead,32
Was longed for in their Eton dreams,33
When links of light bound land to land,34
Like comrades clasping hand in hand,35
As English youth, athirst for fame,36
Caught up the old Athenian flame !37
Yet, mourners, on these nameless pangs38
Henceforth a new tradition hangs ;39
For here, by loftier hopes consoled40
Than soothed the Demigods of old,41
By angel ministries upheld,42
By saints awaited and beheld,43
These perished not, but passed from sight44
Into the Bosom of the Light.45
For us, one tremulous gasp of prayer46
Hallows the conquest-breathing air47
More than all shouts for heroes spent,48
Who died, not knowing where they went ;49
Here shall be told, when pilgrims come,50
How each his brother strove to cheer,51
How tenderly they talked of home,52
How they seemed ignorant of fear,53
Patient, yet ready for the strife,54
While one, the gentlest, turned from life55
So sweetly, that no tongue can say56
If it was lost or given away ;57
And as, where loyal warriors sink,58
We, passing by the place, may pause59
To think, not of their names, but think60
Of their great Leader and their Cause ;61
So by this grave and gate of death62
Remains the murmur of a breath,63
Recalling to the passers by,64
Not Marathon, but Calvary.65