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64454: The Cuirassiers Of The Frontier

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posted on 2024-04-05, 12:56 authored by First World War Poetry Digital Archive Project Team

Goths, Vandals, Huns, Isaurian mountaineers,
Made Roman by our Roman sacrament,
We can know little (as we care little)
Of the Metropolis: her candled churches,
Her white-gowned pederastic senators,
The cut-throat factions of her Hippodrome,
The eunuchs of her draped saloons.
Here is the frontier, here our camp and place---
Beans for the pot, fodder for horses,
And Roman arms. Enough. He who among us
At full gallop, the bowstring to his ear,
Lets drive his heavy arrows, to sink
Stinging through Persian corslets damascened,
Then follows with the lance---he has our love.
The Christ bade Holy Peter sheathe his sword,
Being outnumbered by the Temple guard.
And this was prudence, the cause not yet lost
While Peter might persuade the crowd to rescue.
Peter renegued, breaking his sacrament.
With us the penalty is death by stoning,
Not to be made a bishop.
In Peter's Church there is no faith nor truth,
Nor justice anywhere in palace or court.
That we continue watchful on the rampart
Concerns no priest. A gaping silken dragon,
Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God.
We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:
A rotten tree lives only in its rind.

History

Identifier

3409.txt

Creator

Graves, Robert (1895-1985)

Date

(1995, 1997, 1999)

Date Created

01/01/1997

Temporal Date

31/12/1999

Type

Poem

Rights

The Robert Graves Copyright Trust / Published in Graves, R. (1999) Complete Poems: Volumes 1 - 3. Eds. B. Graves and D. Ward. London: Penguin Books.

Repository Name

ProQuest

Publisher

The First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Usage metrics

    The Robert Graves Collection

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