James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

June 28


By Edwin Arnold (1832–1904)

  • Commanded the British in the Crimea. He died there on June 28, 1855.

  • AH! not because our soldier died before his field was won;

    Ah! not because life would not last till life’s long task were done.

    Wreathe one less leaf, grieve with less grief,—of all our hosts that led

    Not last in work and worth approv’d,—

    Lord Raglan lieth dead.

    His nobleness he had of none, War’s Master taught him war,

    And prouder praise that Master gave than meaner lips can mar;

    Gone to his grave, his duty done; if farther any seek,

    He left his task to answer them,—a soldier’s,—let it speak!

    ’Twas his to sway a blunted sword,—to fight a fated field,

    While idle tongues talked victory, to struggle not to yield;

    Light task for placeman’s ready pen to plan a field for fight,

    Hard work and hot with steel and shot to win that field aright.

    Tears have been shed for the brave dead; mourn him who mourn’d for all!

    Praise hath been given for strife well striven; praise him who strove o’er all,

    Nor count that conquest little, though no banner flaunt it far,

    That under him our English hearts beat Pain and Plague and War.

    And if held those English hearts too good to pave the path

    To idle victories, shall we grudge what noble palm he hath?

    Like ancient Chief he fought a-front, and ’mid his soldiers seen,

    His work was aye as stern as theirs; oh! make his grave as green.

    They know him well,—the Dead who died

    That Russian wrong should cease,

    Where Fortune doth not measure men,—their souls and his have peace;

    Ay! as well spent in sad sick tent as they in bloody strife,

    For English Homes our English Chief gave what he had,—his life.