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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Andrew John Stuart (1880–1915)

Poems of the Great War: Sailor, What of the Debt We Owe You?

  • (Eldest son of the Earl of Castlestewart, Lieut. 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers, killed in action in France between Sept. 25th and 27th, 1915.)

  • SAILOR, what of the debt we owe you?

    Day or night is the peril more?

    Who so dull that he fails to know you,

    Sleepless guard of our island shore?

    Safe the corn to the farmyard taken;

    Grain ships safe upon all the seas;

    Homes in peace and a faith unshaken—

    Sailor, what do we owe for these?

    Safe the clerk at his desk; the trader

    Counts unruined his honest gain;

    Safe though yonder the curs’t invader

    Pours red death over hill and plain.

    Sailor, what of the debt we owe you?

    Now is the hour at last to pay,

    Now in the stricken field to show you

    What is the spirit you guard to-day.