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Ralph Watson

[From the book, following the last letter:]


Here is something that goes right to the point, eh?   

It’s exactly what I am trying to be and do.

            A TRENCH LITANY

God of Sabaoth, I but ask
Humbly to bear whate’er befalls —
The dreary, uninviting task,
The sight that sickens and appals,
Ear-rack of never-silent guns,
Burden of bars vicissitude,
Losses of comrades — cherished ones —
To suffer all with fortitude.

If fate vouchsafe me safe return
To firesides of my fond desire,
Grant me the grace never to spurn
The lessons learned in lines of fire —
Chivalry, love, and noble aims,
Knowledge of things undreamed within,
And this — that Private What’s-his-Name’s
The same as I beneath the skin.

Or if the hollow eyes of Death
Should cast commanding gaze on me,
Bidding me yield the shibboleth
And plumb the black, unfathomed sea —
I pray that I at last may fall
In paths where Honour ever strayed,
And answer the unwished-for Call
Unquestioning and unafraid.

Au revoir
Your Boy and your Pal,

Original Scans

Original Scans