Private Alfred Roberts, of the Royal Irish Lancers, sends home some lines which a soldier comrade had written. They are remarkable both in sentiment and as possessing real poetic fire.
IF I SHOULD FALL!
If I should fall among the dead and dying,
Amid the strife upon the blood-stained field,
My spirit, Lord, upon Thy love relying,
To Thee I yield.
I do not ask a respite from the grave;
When duty calls I’ll hasten to my place,
But when my hour should come, one boon I crave
To see Thy face.
For Thou hast been my friend and brother,
And thro’ sweet nature all my joys I’ve known:
No earthly bond unites me to another,
I stand alone.
For I despise the cant and double-dealing
Which serve mankind, the humble and the proud:
How hard to find one heart with genuine feeling,
In all the crowd
To Thee, to Thee, O, Father, I surrender.
This earthly gift whene’er I hear Thy call,
But let my death be swift, the pang be tender,
Yet like a soldier fall.
The Cheltenham Chronicle, Saturday March 7th 1900.