MARCHING ON - William Herbert Carruth Poems


Poems » william herbert carruth » marching on



I heard the young lads singing
     In the still morning air,
Gaily the notes came ringing
     Across the lilac'd square;
They sang like happy children
     Who know not doubt or care,
         "As WE GO MARCHING ON."

And each one sloped a rifle
     And each one bore a pack;
They had no grief to stifle,
     No tears to weep, alack;
They were too blithe to question
     Which of them should come back,
          As they went marching on.


Oh, thou whose eyes are sorrow,
     And whose soul is sorrowing,
Who knowest that each to-morrow
     A deeper woe may bring,
And knowest that all the comfort
     Is the very littlest thing
          While they go marching on;

These sons of thine seek glory,
     As the bridegroom seeks the bride,
And who shall tell the story
     Of their triumph and their pride?
Like lovers, for the love of thee
     They have lain them down and died;
          And they go marching on.


They march by field and city,
     By every road and way,
A march which angels pity
     And none may stop or stay
Till the last head is rested
     On the last crimson clay;
          So they go marching on!

They march in the broad sunlight
     And by the lovers' moon,
Into the flame and gun-light
     From morns and eves of June,
And Death for their entrancèd feet
     Pipes an obsequious tune,
          And keeps them marching on.


And mid the battle thunder,
     And in the fields of blood,
They see the untarnished wonder,
     The healing, and the good
Which passeth understanding
     And can not be understood;
          And they go marching on.

They see the rose's brightness
     Made perfect and complete,
Lilies and snows of whiteness,
     And wings of gold that beat
For ever and for ever
     Before the Paraclete;
          And they go marching on.