All the Hills and Vales Along

Original Text: 
Charles Hamilton Sorley. Marlborough and other Poems. 4th edition. Cambridge: University Press, 1919: 71-72 (no. XXX). PR 6037 O7M3 1919 Robarts Library.
1All the hills and vales along
2Earth is bursting into song,
3And the singers are the chaps
4Who are going to die perhaps.
5    O sing, marching men,
6    Till the valleys ring again.
7    Give your gladness to earth's keeping,
8    So be glad, when you are sleeping.
9Cast away regret and rue,
10Think what you are marching to.
11Little live, great pass.
13Were found the same day.
14This died, that went his way.
15    So sing with joyful breath,
16    For why, you are going to death.
17    Teeming earth will surely store
18    All the gladness that you pour.
19Earth that never doubts nor fears,
20Earth that knows of death, not tears,
21Earth that bore with joyful ease
23Earth that blossomed and was glad
24'Neath the cross that Christ had,
25Shall rejoice and blossom too
26When the bullet reaches you.
27    Wherefore, men marching
28    On the road to death, sing!
29    Pour your gladness on earth's head,
30    So be merry, so be dead.
31From the hills and valleys earth
32Shouts back the sound of mirth,
33Tramp of feet and lilt of sing
34Ringing all the road along.
35All the music of their going,
36Ringing swinging glad song-throwing,
37Earth will echo still, when foot
38Lies numb and voice mute.
39    On, marching men, on
40    To the gates of death with song.
41    Sow your gladness for earth's reaping,
42    So you may be glad, though sleeping.
43    Strew your gladness on earth's bed,
44    So be merry, so be dead.


12] Pontius Pilate freed condemned thief Barabbas in exchange for imprisoning and executing Jesus. Back to Line
22] Socrates: Greek philosopher and teacher of Plato whom Athens condemned to die by drinking hemlock for his unorthodox thinking Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.