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

Charles H. Sorley (1895–1915)

Poems of the Great War: “All the Hills and Vales Along”

  • (Captain, Seventh [Service] Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment, killed in action in France on Oct. 13th, 1915.)

  • ALL the hills and vales along

    Earth is bursting into song,

    And the singers are the chaps

    Who are going to die perhaps.

    O sing, marching men,

    Till the valleys ring again.

    Give your gladness to earth’s keeping,

    So be glad, when you are sleeping.

    Cast away regret and rue,

    Think what you are marching to.

    Little live, great pass.

    Jesus Christ and Barabbas

    Were found the same day.

    This died, that went his way.

    So sing with joyful breath.

    For why, you are going to death.

    Teeming earth will surely store

    All the gladness that you pour.

    Earth that never doubts nor fears,

    Earth that knows of death, not tears,

    Earth that bore with joyful ease

    Hemlock for Socrates,

    Earth that blossomed and was glad

    ’Neath the cross that Christ had,

    Shall rejoice and blossom too

    When the bullet reaches you.

    Wherefore, men marching

    On the road to death, sing!

    Pour your gladness on earth’s head,

    So be merry, so be dead.

    From the hills and valleys earth

    Shouts back the sound of mirth,

    Tramp of feet and lilt of song

    Ringing all the road along.

    All the music of their going,

    Ringing, swinging, glad song-throwing,

    Earth will echo still, when foot

    Lies numb and voice mute.

    On, marching men, on

    To the gates of death with song.

    Sow your gladness for earth’s reaping,

    So you may be glad, though sleeping.

    Strew your gladness on earth’s bed,

    So be merry, so be dead.