Our Boys Who Have Gone to the Front
("Be christs!"--was one of W. T. Stead's favourite sayings. Not "Be like Christ!"--but--"Be christs!" And he used the word no doubt in its original meaning,--anointed, ordained, chosen. As such we, whose boys have gone to the Front, think of them. For they have gone, most of them, from a simple, high sense of duty, and in many cases under direst feeling of personal repulsion against the whole ghastly business. They have sacrificed everything, knowing full well that many of them will never return to us.)
Ye are all christs in this your self-surrender,--
True sons of God in seeking not your own.
Yours now the hardships,--yours shall be the splendour
Of the Great Triumph and THE KING'S "Well done!"
Yours these rough Calvaries of high endeavour,--
Flame of the trench, and foam of wintry seas.
Nor Pain, nor Death, nor aught that is can sever
You from the Love that bears you on His knees.
Yes, you are christs, if less at times your seeming.--
Christ walks the earth in many a simple guise.
We know you christs, when, in your souls' redeeming,
The Christ-light blazes in your steadfast eyes.
Here--or hereafter, you shall see it ended,--
This mighty work to which your souls are set.
If from beyond--then, with the vision splendid,
You shall smile back and never know regret.
Or soon, or late, for each--the Life Immortal!
And not for us to choose the How or When.
Or late, or soon,--what matter?--since the Portal
Leads but to glories passing mortal ken.
O Lads! Dear Lads! Our christs of God's anointing!
Press on in hope! Your faith and courage prove!
Pass--by these High Ways of the Lord's appointing!
You cannot pass beyond our boundless love.