First World War Poetry Digital Archive

The Dead Fox Hunter

THE DEAD FOX HUNTER by ROBERT GRAVES (In memory of Captain A. L. Samson, 2nd Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers, killed near Cuinchy, Sept. 25th, 1915)

We found the little captain at the head; His men lay well aligned. We touched his hand---stone cold---and he was dead, And they, all dead behind, Had never reached their goal, but they died well; They charged in line, and in the same line fell.

The well-known rosy colours of his face Were almost lost in grey. We saw that, dying and in hopeless case, For others' sake that day He'd smothered all rebellious groans: in death His fingers were tight clenched between his teeth.

For those who live uprightly and die true Heaven has no bars or locks, And serves all taste...or what's for him to do Up there, but hunt the fox? Angelic choirs? No, Justice must provide For one who rode straight and in hunting died.

So if Heaven had no Hunt before he came, Why, it must find one now: If any shirk and doubt they know the game, There's one to teach them how: And the whole host of Seraphim complete Must jog in scarlet to his opening Meet.

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