Prose & Poetry - The Muse in Arms - R.B.

"R.B." by Aubrey Herbert First published in London in November 1917 and reprinted in February 1918 The Muse in Arms comprised, in the words of editor E. B. Osborne:

"A collection of war poems, for the most part written in the field of action, by seamen, soldiers, and flying men who are serving, or have served, in the Great War".

Below is one of nine poems featured within In Memoriam section of the collection.  You can access other poems within the section via the sidebar to the right.

by Aubrey Herbert

It was April we left Lemnos, shining sea and snow-white camp,
Passing onward into darkness. Lemnos shone a golden lamp,
As a low harp tells of thunder, so the lovely Lemnos air
Whispered of the dawn and battle; and we left a comrade there.

He who sang of dawn and evening, English glades and light of Greece,
Changed his dreaming into sleeping, left his sword to rest in peace.
Left his visions of the springtime, Holy Grail and Golden Fleece,
Took the leave that has no ending, till the waves of Lemnos cease.

There will be enough recorders ere this fight of ours be done,
And the deeds of men made little, swiftly cheapened one by one;
Bitter loss his golden harpstrings and the treasure of his youth;
Gallant foe and friend may mourn him, for lie sang the knightly truth.

Joy was his in his clear singing, clean as is the swimmer's joy;
Strong the wine he drank of battle, fierce as that they poured in Troy.
Swift the shadows steal from Athos, but his soul was morning-swift,
Greek and English he made music, caught the cloudthoughts we let drift.

Sleep you well, you rainbow comrade, where the wind and light is strong,
Overhead and high above you, let the lark take up your song.
Something of your singing lingers, for the men like me who pass,
Till all singing ends in sighing, in the sighing of the grass.

A 'Woolly Bear' comprised a German shrapnel shell, which burst with a cloud-like explosion.

- Did you know?

Muse in Arms

In Memoriam