Henry Van Dyke

(10 November 1852 – 10 April 1933 / Germantown, Pennsylvania)

A Scrap of Paper


"Will you go to war just for a scrap of paper?" -- Question
of the German Chancellor to the British Ambassador,
August 5, 1914.


A mocking question! Britain's answer came
Swift as the light and searching as the flame.

"Yes, for a scrap of paper we will fight
Till our last breath, and God defend the right!

"A scrap of paper where a name is set
Is strong as duty's pledge and honor's debt.

"A scrap of paper holds for man and wife
The sacrament of love, the bond of life.

"A scrap of paper may be Holy Writ
With God's eternal word to hallow it.

"A scrap of paper binds us both to stand
Defenders of a neutral neighbor land.

"By God, by faith, by honor, yes! We fight
To keep our name upon that paper white."

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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