Ad Finem

A poem by William Arthur Dunkerley

Britain! Our Britain! uprisen in the splendour
Of your white wrath at treacheries so vile;
Roused from your sleep, become once more defender
Of those high things which make life worth life's while!

Now, God be thanked for even such a wakening
From the soft dreams of peace in selfish ease,
If it but bring about the great heart-quickening,
Of which are born the larger liberties.

Ay, better such a rousing up from slumber;
Better this fight for His High Empery;
Better--e'en though our fair sons without number
Pave with their lives the road to victory.

But--Britain! Britain! What if it be written,
On the great scrolls of Him who holds the ways,
That to the dust the foe shall not be smitten
Till unto Him we pledge redeem├Ęd days?--

Till unto Him we turn--in deep soul-sorrow,
For all the past that was so stained and dim,
For all the present ills--and for a morrow
Founded and built and consecrated to Him.

Take it to heart! This ordeal has its meaning;
By no fell chance has such a horror come.
Take it to heart!--nor count indeed on winning,
Until the lesson has come surely home.

Take it to heart!--nor hope to find assuagement
Of this vast woe, until, with souls subdued,
Stripped of all less things, in most high engagement,
We seek in Him the One and Only Good.

Not of our own might shall this tribulation
Pass, and once more to earth be peace restored;
Not till we turn, in solemn consecration,
Wholly to Him, our One and Sovereign Lord.

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