TEXT: The Soldier Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1918

The Soldier

Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1918

YES. Why do we áll, seeing of a soldier, bless him? bless

Our redcoats, our tars? Both these being, the greater part,

But frail clay, nay but foul clay. Here it is: the heart,

Since, proud, it calls the calling manly, gives a guess

That, hopes that, makesbelieve, the men must be no less;        5

It fancies, feigns, deems, dears the artist after his art;

And fain will find as sterling all as all is smart,

And scarlet wear the spirit of wár thére express.  

Mark Christ our King. He knows war, served this soldiering through;

He of all can handle a rope best. There he bides in bliss        10 

Now, and séeing somewhére some mán do all that man can do,

For love he leans forth, needs his neck must fall on, kiss,

And cry ‘O Christ-done deed! So God-made-flesh does too:

Were I come o’er again’ cries Christ ‘it should be this’.