The War-Song of Lec Das

“We must teach them of war,” he said
And it I could not get out of my head
Lightning crashes upon the darkend plain
Clouds gather a shadowy retinue
Out go the stars, one by two
And swiftly comes the rain;

The sound of steel is still in my ear
Unmistakeable, both the thrill and the fear
The sudden lightning is like it now
A bright spear, a flashing bomb
A firelance flash, the sounding drum
“No quarter shall we allow–!”

No quarter! Forgiveness comes late
For first must burn out the fires of hate
Subsiding after the lightning-flash
“That we may lay upon the pyre
Things worthy of such a fire
And men worthy of such a clash;”

I would have you my sweetest friends
As enemies, if in this way it ends
That under the sun we may fight
“And hope that glory comes to us
As we must one day return to dust”
And sleep in the dark of night;

“Have we not been given days enough,
To prove the mettle of our love–?”
To prove the severity of our sun
It is too high for only man to fly
Take wing therefore, to the sky
And rise above everyone;

“Do not be sad that in death we lie,
Think instead of how best to die;”
The sun remains, the sky remains
“Take heart my child, be stayed;
For in war the heart is made–
And we pass as the summer rains.”

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