In The Battle Silences: Poems Written At The Front

by Frederick George Scott


 

BLOOD-GUILT


 

THE brand of Cain is on your brow,
                    Emperor!
A crown of gold may hide it now,
                    Emperor!
But when the day of reckoning comes,
5
When flags are furled and hushed the drums,
When labour goes with bruised hands
To plough once more the blood-stained lands,
A people’s wrath will rend the skies
And topple down your dynasties,
10
                    Emperor!

In vain you call upon the Lord,
                    Emperor!
You boast of honour and the sword,
                    Emperor!

15
What god will bless the hideous flood
Which drowns the world in human blood?
The vengeance of broken trust
Will grind your empire in the dust,
Till Hohenzollern crowns are cast
20
Upon the refuse of the past,
                    Emperor!

The cries of multitudes unfed,
                    Emperor!
The curses of the millions dead,

25
                    Emperor!
Will these not heap on you the scorn
Of generations yet unborn?
Are there no murmurs in your ear
Of retribution drawing near?—
30
The fingers of a hand that write
Inscribe your doom upon the night,
                    Emperor!

 

BEAUPRE, NEAR QUEBEC.
    20 August 1914.