The Undergraduate Killed in Battle
by George Santayana (1863-1952)
Sweet as the lawn beneath his sandalled tread
Or the scarce rippled stream beneath his oar,
For its still, channelled current constant more,
His life was, and the few blithe words he said.
One or two poets read he, and reread;
One or two friends in boyish ardour wore
Next to his heart, incurious of the lore
Dodonian woods might murmur o’er his head.
Ah, demons of the whirlwind, have a care
What, trumpeting your triumphs, ye undo!
The earth once won, begins your long despair
That never, never is his bliss for you.
He breathed betimes this clement island air
And in unwitting lordship saw the blue.