Dedication : To The Memory Of Cecil Spring-Rice
STEADFAST as any soldier of the line
by Alfred Noyes
He served his England, with the imminent death
Poised at his heart. Nor could the world divine
The constant peril of each burdened breath.
England, and the honour of England, he still served
Walking the strict path, with the old high pride
Of those invincible knights who never swerved
One hair's breadth from the way until they died.
Quietness he loved, and books, and the grave beauty
Of England's Helicon, whose eternal light
Shines like a lantern on that road of duty,
Discerned by few in this chaotic night;
And his own pen, foretelling his release,
Told us that he foreknew ' the end was peace.'
Soldier of England, he shall live unsleeping
Among his friends, with the old proud flag above;
For even to-day her honour is in his keeping,
He has joined the hosts that guard her with their love.
They shine like stars, unnumbered happy legions,
In that high realm where all our darkness dies.
He moves with honour, in those loftier regions,
Above this ' world of passion and of lies ';
For so he called it, keeping his own pure passion
A silent flame before the true and good;
Not fawning on the throng in this world's fashion
To come and see what all might see who would.
Soldier of England, perfect, gentle knight,
The soul of Sidney welcomes you to-night.