Robert Nichols (1893-1944) was the wartime author of Ardours and Endurances; Also, A Faun's Holiday and Poems & Phantasies, a collection of war poetry published in 1917.
Nichols, who struck up friendships with fellow war poets Siegfried Sassoon and Rupert Brooke (the latter was killed in action in 1915), was a Winchester and Oxford-educated Georgian poet.
Nichols' First World War military service - which lasted from from 1914-16 - saw him participate in the Battle of Loos in 1915 in the role of artillery officer.
His front-line service was however brief - after just a few weeks serving in the trenches he was invalided home with shell shock; an illness which ... more »
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Robert Nichols Poems
Was there love once? I have forgotten her. Was there grief once? Grief yet is mine. Other loves I have, men rough, but men who stir More grief, more joy, than love of thee and thine.
1. Noon It is midday; the deep trench glares…. A buzz and blaze of flies….
Comrades An Episode
Before, before he was aware The 'Verey' light had risen… on the air in hung glistering.. And he could not stay his hand
The Last Salute
In a far field, away from England, lies A boy I friended with a care like love; All day the wide earth aches, the keen wind cries,
The beating of the guns grows louder. 'Not long, boys, now.' My heart burns whiter, fearfuller, prouder;
The Day's March
The battery grides and jingles, Mile succeeds to mile; Shaking the noonday sunshine
For the last time, maybe, upon the knoll I stand. The eve is golden, languid, sad. Day like a tragic actor plays his role
O Nightingale My Heart
O Nightingale my heart How sad thou art! How heavy is thy wing, Desperately whirrëd that thy throat may fling
I must remember now
I must remember now how once I woke To find the harsh lamplight stream upon her bed, The ceiling tremble in its giddy smoke,
Put by the sun my joyful soul, We are for darkness that is whole; Put by the wine, now for long years
Evenstar, still evenstar If this twilight thou dost shine On a more unhappy head, On tears lonelier than mine,
In my tired, helpless body I feel my sunk heart ache;
The Naiads' Music: From A Faun's Holiday
Come, ye sorrowful, and steep Your tired brows in a nectarous sleep: For our kisses lightlier run Than the traceries of the sun
Nearer and ever nearer... My body, tired but tense, Hovers 'twixt vague pleasure And tremulous confidence.
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Was there love once? I have forgotten her.
Was there grief once? Grief yet is mine.
Other loves I have, men rough, but men who stir
More grief, more joy, than love of thee and thine.
Faces cheerful, full of whimsical mirth,
Lined by the wind, burned by the sun;
Bodies enraptured by the abounding earth,
As whose children we are brethern: one.
And any moment may descend hot death
To shatter limbs! Pulp, tear, blast
Belovèd soldiers who love rough life and breath
Not less for dying faithful to the last.
O the fading eyes, the grimed face ...