Embarcation

Poem By Thomas Hardy

Southampton Docks: October 1899

Here, where Vespasian's legions struck the sands,
And Cendric with the Saxons entered in,
And Henry's army lept afloat to win
Convincing triumphs over neighboring lands,

Vaster battalions press for further strands,
To argue in the selfsame bloody mode
Which this late age of thought, and pact, and code,
Still fails to mend.--Now deckward tramp the bands,

Yellow as autumn leaves, alive as spring;
And as each host draws out upon the sea
Beyond which lies the tragical To-be,
None dubious of the cause, none murmuring,

Wives, sisters, parents, wave white hands and smile,
As if they knew not that they weep the while.

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