Lyrics: William Morris.
Tune: “English Air.”
Hear a word, a word in season, for the day is drawing nigh,
When the cause shall call upon us, some to live and some to die!
He that dies shall not die lonely; many an one hath gone before;
He that lives shall bear no burden heavier than the life they bore.
Nothing ancient is their story, e’en but yesterday they bled;
Youngest they of earth’s beloved, last of all the valiant dead.
In the grave where tyrants thrust them lies their labor and their pain,
But undying from their sorrow springeth up the hope again.
Mourn not, therefore, nor lament it that the world outlives their life;
Voice and wisdom yet they give us, making strong our hands for strife.
Some had name and fame and honor; learned they were and brave and strong;
Some were nameless, poor, unlettered, weak in all but grief and wrong.
Named and nameless all lived in us; one and all, they lead us yet;
Every pain to count for nothing; every sorrow to forget.
Hearken how they cry, “O happy, happy ye that ye were born
In the sad, slow night’s departing, in the rising of the morn.
Fair the crown the Cause hath for you; well to die or well to live.
Through the battle, through the tangle, peace to gain or peace to give.”
Ah, it may be! Oft meseemeth, in the day that yet shall be,
When no slave of gold abideth ’twixt the breadth of sea to sea,
Oft when men and maids are merry, ere the sunlight leaves the earth,
And they bless the day beloved all too short for all their mirth,
Some shall pause awhile and ponder on the bitter days of old,
Ere the toll and strife of battle overthrew the curse of gold.
Then ’twixt lips of loved and lover solemn thoughts of us shall rise;
We, who once were fools and dreamers, then shall be the brave and wise.
There amidst the world rebuilded shall our earthly deeds abide,
Though our names be all forgotten and the tale of how we died.
Life or death then, who shall heed it, what we gain or what we lose?
Fair flies life amid the struggle, and the Cause for each shall choose.