ON AN ARMY OF MERCENARIES
A. E. Houseman 1914.
- in the square at
Mons 22nd August 1914
in the day when heaven was falling,
hour when earth's foundations fled,
their mercenary calling
took their wages and are dead.
shoulders held the sky. suspended;
stood, and earth's foundations stay;
God abandoned, these defended,
saved the sum of things for pay.
- An 18lber in action, 1914
ORACLES by A. E. Houseman
- 'Tis mute, the word
they went to hear on high Dodona mountain
- When winds were in
the oakenshaws and all the cauldrons tolled,
- And mute's the
midland navel-stone beside the singing fountain,
- And echoes list to
silence now where gods told lies of old.
- I took my question
to the shrine that has not ceased from speaking,
- The heart within,
that tells the truth and tells it twice as plain;
- And from the cave
of oracles I heard the priestess shrieking
- That she and I
should surely die and never live again.
- Oh priestess, what
you cry is clear, and sound good sense I think it;
- But let the
screaming echoes rest, and froth your mouth no more.
- 'Tis true there's
better booze than brine, but he that drowns must drink
- And oh, my lass,
the news is news that men have heard before.
King with half the East at heel is marched from land of
fighters drink the rivers up, their shafts benight the
he that stands will die for nought, and home there's no
- The Spartans on the
sea-wet rock sat down and combed their hair.
- The Spartans at Thermopolae
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