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Editor's Selection of Poems
Then and Now

by Thomas Hardy

   When battles were fought
With a chivalrous sense of Should and Ought,
   In spirit men said,
   "End we quick or dead,
   Honour is some reward!
Let us fight fair--for our own best or worst;
   So, Gentlemen of the Guard,
      Fire first!"

   In the open they stood,
Man to man in his knightlihood:
   They would not deign
   To profit by a stain
   On the honourable rules,
Knowing that practise perfidy no man durst
   Who in the heroic schools
      Was nurst.

   But now, behold, what
Is warfare wherein honour is not!
   Rama laments
   Its dead innocents:
   Herod breathes:  "Sly slaughter
Shall rule!  Let us, by modes once called accurst,
   Overhead, under water,
      Stab first."

1915.
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