Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace, there’s nothing so becomes a man,
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood. * * * * *
I see you stand like grehounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot;
Follow your spirit: and upon this charge,
Cry – “God for Harry! England and Saint George!”
from Shakespeare’s Henry V 3 1.
And five centuries later – still in northern France The General Siegfied Sassoon
“Good-morning! Good-morning!” the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ’em dead,
And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
“He’s a cheery old card,” grunted Harry to Jack
As the slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.
But he did for them both by his plan of attack.