Then and Now

            When battles were fought
With a chivalrous sense of should and ought,
            In spirit men said,
             “End we quick or dead,
            Honour is some reward!
Let us fight fair—for our own best or worst;
            So, Gentlemen of the Guard,
                 Fire first!”

            In the open they stood,
Man to man in his knightlihood:
            They would not deign
            To profit by a stain
            On the honourable rules,
Knowing that practice perfidy no man durst
            Who in the heroic schools
                 Was nurst.

            But now, behold, what
Is war with those where honor is not!
            Rama laments
            Its dead innocents;
            Herod howls: “Sly slaughter
Rules now! Let us, by modes once called accurst,
            Overhead, under water
                 Stab first.”


This poem is in the public domain.