This is an incredibly powerful poem written by Henry Chappell, a railway porter at Bath. In this you can sense the fears and anger of the nation. It was published in the Daily Express in August 1914 and was an immediate hit. The monies Mr Chappell received from the poem were donated to the British Red Cross. Apparently the Kaiser himself read it, and was understandably none too pleased.
YOU boasted the Day, and you toasted the Day,
And now the Day has come.
Blasphemer, braggart and coward all,
Little you reck of the numbing ball,
The blasting shell, or the “white arm’s” fall,
As they speed poor humans home.
You spied for the Day, you lied for the Day,
And woke the Day’s red spleen.
Monster, who asked God’s aid Divine,
Then strewed His seas with the ghastly mine;
Not all the waters of the Rhine
Can wash thy foul hands clean.
You dreamed for the Day, you schemed for the Day;
Watch how the Day will go,
Slayer of age and youth and prime,
(Defenceless slain for never a crime),
Thou art steeped in blood as a hog in slime,
False friend and cowardly foe.
You have sown for the Day, you have grown for the Day;
Yours is the harvest red.
Can you hear the groans and the awful cries?
Can you see the heap of slain that lies,
And sightless turned to the flame-split skies
The glassy eyes of the dead?
You have wronged for the Day, you have longed for the Day
That lit the awful flame.
‘Tis nothing to you that hill and plain
Yield sheaves of dead men amid the grain;
That widows mourn for their loved ones slain,
And mothers curse thy name.
But after the Day there’s a price to pay
For the sleepers under the sod,
And He you have mocked for many a day —
Listen, and hear what He has to say:
“VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.”
What can you say to God?