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

Habberton Lulham

Poems of the Great War: His Only Way

I STOOD to-day high on the Downs

And talked long with a shepherd lad;

I found him pondering by his sheep,

Motionless, staring-eyed, and sad.

But, leaning on his Pyecombe crook—

Long polished by his father’s hand—

He told, with slow-tongued eagerness,

This love-tale of his Sussex land:

“Me and my mate, Dick, loved a girl,

But he was always down at plough,

And in and out the village, like,

And—well, he ’listed, anyhow;

“While I bides up here ’long me sheep;

And our girl, though she liked us two

Equal it seemed, she took his ring—

As, sure, she’d right enough to do.

“Well, Dick he fought and met his death,

Somewheres in Flanders, so ’tis said;

And I can’t go to her, I feels,

Because of Dick there lying dead.

“They do tell she gets pine and thin,

And mopes and mourns that bitterly,

But I can’t go and say a word,

Because he died for her, you see.

“And day by day I sees it more—

I’ve pieced it all out clear and plain—

As I must go like Dick has gone,

Afore I looks at her again.

“Old wall-eyed Bob, there, ’ll pine awhile,

And listen, maybe, for my call;

And master, he’ll be proper mad,

With lambing coming on, and all.

“But there ’tis, and there ain’t two ways:

He went, and ’tis the only thing;

Else I shall grow to hate the hill

And get ashamed o’ shepherding.

“That there’s her window down below,

Aside the copse, where I could see

(It seems a score o’ years agone)

Our girl stand waving up to me.

“Come Sunday, then, I’ll ’list for sure

(The same as you done, Dick, old lad!)

Then, if I gets back, I can go

Fair, like, and face her proud and glad.”