Devotion To Duty

I was near the King that day. I saw him snatch
And briskly scan the G.H.Q. dispatch.
Thick-voiced, he read it out. (His face was grave.)
‘This officer advanced with the first wave,

‘And when our first objective had been gained,
‘(Though wounded twice), reorganized the line:
‘The spirit of the troops was by his fine
‘Example most effectively sustained.’

He gripped his beard; then closed his eyes and said,
‘Bathsheba must be warned that he is dead.
‘Send for her. I will be the first to tell
‘This wife how her heroic husband fell.’

by Siegfried Sassoon

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