War Song – John Davidson

In anguish we uplift
A new unhallowed song:
The race is to the swift;
The battle to the strong.

Of old it was ordained
That we, in packs like curs,
Some thirty million trained
And licensed murderers,

In crime should live and act,
If cunning folk say sooth
Who flay the naked fact
And carve the heart of truth.

The rulers cry aloud,
“We cannot cancel war,
The end and bloody shroud
Of wrongs the worst abhor,
And order’s swaddling band:
Know that relentless strife
Remains by sea and land
The holiest law of life.
From fear in every guise,
From sloth, from lust of pelf,
By war’s great sacrifice
The world redeems itself.
War is the source, the theme
Of art; the goal, the bent
And brilliant academe
Of noble sentiment;
The augury, the dawn
Of golden times of grace;
The true catholicon,
And blood-bath of the race.”

We thirty million trained
And licensed murderers,
Like zanies rigged, and chained
By drill and scourge and curse
In shackles of despair
We know not how to break —
What do we victims care
For art, what interest take
In things unseen, unheard?
Some diplomat no doubt
Will launch a heedless word,
And lurking war leap out!

We spell-bound armies then,
Huge brutes in dumb distress,
Machines compact of men
Who once had consciences,
Must trample harvests down —
Vineyard, and corn and oil;
Dismantle town by town,
Hamlet and homestead spoil
On each appointed path,
Till lust of havoc light
A blood-red blaze of wrath
In every frenzied sight.

In many a mountain pass,
Or meadow green and fresh,
Mass shall encounter mass
Of shuddering human flesh;
Opposing ordnance roar
Across the swaths of slain,
And blood in torrents pour
In vain — always in vain,
For war breeds war again!

The shameful dream is past,
The subtle maze untrod:
We recognise at last
That war is not of God.

War Song – Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Sing a song o’ Hempire 

Mother’s took a fit, 

Nasty Germans buildin’ ships, 

An’ never mentioned it. 

Buildin’ beastly warships, 

Quite a tidy few; 

Mother’s got an awful start 

Baby’s got it too. 
The King was in the Customs House, 

But couldn’t find a penny ; 

The Lords were at their country seats 

And didn’t offer any; 

A millyun paupers mooned about 

With nothin’ much to eat, 

When down comes Australyer 

With a Dreadnought fer the fleet. 

Sing a song o’ Warships, 

‘Orrid ole Bulow, 

Layin’ down ‘is Dreadnoughts 

An’ didn’t let us know 

Didn’t advertise it, 

Till the Cablegram 

Spread the awful tidings 

An’ the Empire shouted, ‘Damn!’ 
Sing a song o’ Hempire, 

Mother’s up a tree; 

But the Melbourne Stock exchange 

‘As swore to set ‘er free. 

Does the German caitiff 

Build upon the sly? 

Then seventeen suburban may’rs 

Will know the reason why! 
Seventeen suburban may’rs 

Of the Bulldog Breed 

Fly to succor Hingland 

In her hour of need. 

What of ‘Constant Reader’? 

‘Pro Bono Publico’? 

Will ‘Subscriber’ see old Hingland 

Flabbergasted? No!! 
A reeiy, trooly battleship, 

With guns an’ things galore, 

And splendid sails of calico 

From MacMillan’s store 

The Stock Exchange will float it 

On a sea of gush. 

Wot’s two millyun quid to us? 

We don’t care a rush! 
(But – whisper – little mother, 

If, later on, some day, 

We want ter sorter float a loan, 

To ‘elp us on our way 

Borrer of it back, like 

After wot ‘as passed, 

Don’t you go an’ crool our pitch, 

Like you did the last.) 
Sing a song o’ Britain’s fleet 

(‘Ow the Tories raged!) 

That’s goin’ to guard Australyer 

(If not otherwise engaged). 

Sing of ‘Umpty Dumpty 

‘Im that ‘ad the fall. 

Rob Australian Peter 

To pay old Hinglish Paul. 
Sing o’ topsy-turvey; 

Sing of inside-out, 

Of back-to-front and upside-down 

An’ t’other way about. 

Spend ten bloomin’ millyun, 

Buy yer ships galore, 

An’ send them all to Hingland 

To guard Australyer’s shore. 
Sing a song o’ Hempire! 

We’ve got ter guard ‘the heart.’ 

If it gets a limb lopped off, 

That ain’t a vital part. 

Learn ter think Imperially 

Shriek with courage grim 

Fer ‘the heart’ must be protected 

Tho’ it’s tough if we’re the limb.