Suggested by Mr. Lloyd George’s Speech, 14th December, 1917. (Re-produced by kind permission from the Salisbury Volunteers’ Magazine).
For Centuries the old world and the new,
Sundered by Ocean broad lay wide apart,
Until our dauntless Seamen spanned the gulf
And linked them heart to heart.
With fruitless toil and many a failure spent,
They wearied not, till enterprise and skill
Had built a bridge, which stands, and ages hence
Will sure be standing still.
Now-when the world is agonised by War
And deeds of foulest cruelty are done,
Such as the darkest ages never knew,
No, nor the ruthless Hun
Now in the anguish of these present years
There flows a roaring torrent at our feet:
On this side pain and horror-but beyond,
All that is sound and sweet.
When righteousness has triumphed over might,
And Kaiserdom is buried with its sin,
Then shall we reach at last the further shore
And the new life begin.
And so for many a month-three years and more.
Sailors and Soldiers, sweethearts, mothers, wives,
Have made their sacrifice and given all,
Some-more than their lives.
Slowly but strongly – to build a bridge
Which, when complete, shall carry us to peace
In the, new world, where quietness shall reign
and wars forever cease.
Each battle Won and each heroic act.
In Flanders, in the East, on sea or land,
Has built Foundations, driving in the piles
On which the bridge must stand.
Some faithless son there are-we hear them cry
“Too great the cost the enterprise will fail,
Build ye instead a bridge of boats “but ah !
Flow -when there comes a gale?
Its planks; mere scraps of paper, and the nails
Nothing but words, words, word and treaties vain,
How could a raft like that the traffic bear,
How long endure the strain?
Unstable ever, how could it withstand
Some storm of passion raised at a future day
Between the nations of the earth? The flood
Would Gweep it all away.
Words are but weakness. Carry on the Work,
Make the foundations deep, the structure strong;
Thus only shall we gain the further bank.
And Peace – the lasting peace for which we long.