Ionicus

A poem by Henry Newbolt

With failing feet and shoulders bowed
Beneath the weight of happier days,
He lagged among the heedless crowd,
Or crept along suburban ways.
But still through all his heart was young,
His mood a joy that nought could mar,
A courage, a pride, a rapture, sprung
Of the strength and splendour of England's war.

From ill-requited toil he turned
To ride with Picton and with Pack,
Among his grammars inly burned
To storm the Afghan mountain-track.
When midnight chimed, before Quebec
He watched with Wolfe till the morning star;
At noon he saw from Victory's deck
The sweep and splendour of England's war.

Beyond the book his teaching sped,
He left on whom he taught the trace
Of kinship with the deathless dead,
And faith in all the Island Race.
He passed: his life a tangle seemed,
His age from fame and power was far;
But his heart was night to the end, and dreamed
Of the sound and splendour of England's war.

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