Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968). rn The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.

The Illusion of War

Le Gallienne, Richard

Richard Le Gallienne

(American poet, born in England, 1866–1947)

WAR I abhor, and yet how sweet

The sound along the marching street

Of drum and fife, and I forget

Wet eyes of widows, and forget

Broken old mothers, and the whole

Dark butchery without a soul.

Without a soul, save this bright drink

Of heady music, sweet as hell;

And even my peace-abiding feet

Go marching with the marching street—

For yonder, yonder goes the fife,

And what care I for human life!

The tears fill my astonished eyes,

And my full heart is like to break;

And yet ’tis all embannered lies,

A dream those little drummers make.

O, it is wickedness to clothe

Yon hideous grinning thing that stalks,

Hidden in music, like a queen,

That in a garden of glory walks,

Till good men love the thing they loathe.

Art, thou hast many infamies,

But not an infamy like this—

Oh, snap the fife, and still the drum,

And show the monster as she is!