There is a hush before the thunder-jar,
When white the steeples against purple stand:
There is a hush when night with star on star
Goes ashen on the summer like a brand.
Now a more awful pause appals the soul,
When concentrating armies crouch to spring;
Stillness more fraught than any thunder-roll,
Dawn European with a redder wing.
The Teuton host no conscience onward drives;
Sullen they come; to slaughter shepherded;
Timed for the shambles with unwilling lives,
With doubt each soldier is already dead.
The massed battalions as a myth shall reel;
Vainly they fight, if first they cannot feel.