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

Cicely Mary Hamilton (1875–1952)

Poems of the Great War: Non-Combatant

BEFORE one drop of angry blood was shed

I was sore hurt and beaten to my knee;

Before one fighting man reeled back and died

The War-Lords struck at me.

They struck me down—an idle, useless mouth,

As cumbrous—nay, more cumbrous—than the dead,

With life and heart afire to give and give

I take a dole instead.

With life and heart afire to give and give

I take and eat the bread of charity.

In all the length of all this eager land,

No man has need of me.

That is my hurt—my burning, beating wound;

That is the spear-thrust driven through my pride!

With aimless hands, and mouth that must be fed,

I wait and stand aside.

Let me endure it, then, with stiffened lip:

I, even I, have suffered in the strife!

Let me endure it then—I give my pride

Where others give a life.