Frederick William (FW) Harvey

(26 March 1888 – 13 February 1957 / Hartpury, Gloucestershire)

Ballade Poem by Frederick William (FW) Harvey


Bodies of comrade soldiers gleaming white
Within the mill-pool where you float and dive

And lounge around part-clothed or naked quite;
Beautiful shining forms of men alive,
O living lutes stringed with the senses five

For Love's sweet fingers; seeing Fate afar,
My very soul with Death for you must strive;

Because of you I loathe the name of War.

But O you piteous corpses yellow-black,

Rotting unburied in the sunbeam's light,
With teeth laid bare by yellow Hps curled back

Most hideously; whose tortured souls took
flight

Leaving your limbs, all mangled by the fight,
In attitudes of horror fouler far

Than dreams which haunt a devil's brain at
night;
Because of you I loathe the name of War.

Mothers and maids who loved you, and the wives
Bereft of your sweet presences; yea, all

Who knew you beautiful; and those small lives
Made of that knowledge; O, and you who call


For life (but vainly now) from that dark hall
Where wait the Unborn, and the loves which are

In future generations to befall;
Because of you I loathe the name of War,

l'envoi

Prince Jesu, hanging stark upon a tree

Crucified as the malefactors are
That man and man henceforth should brothers be;

Because of you I loathe the name of War.

Submitted: Monday, April 2, 2012
Edited: Monday, April 2, 2012

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