Channel Firing

Original Text: 
Collected Poems of Thomas Hardy (London: Macmillan and Co., 1932): 287-88. PR 4741 F32 Robarts Library.
1That night your great guns, unawares,
2Shook all our coffins as we lay,
4We thought it was the Judgment-day
5And sat upright. While drearisome
6Arose the howl of wakened hounds:
7The mouse let fall the altar-crumb,
8The worms drew back into the mounds,
10It's gunnery practice out at sea
11Just as before you went below;
12The world is as it used to be:
13"All nations striving strong to make
14Red war yet redder. Mad as hatters
15They do no more for Christés sake
16Than you who are helpless in such matters.
17"That this is not the judgment-hour
18For some of them's a blessed thing,
19For if it were they'd have to scour
20Hell's floor for so much threatening ....
21"Ha, ha. It will be warmer when
22I blow the trumpet (if indeed
23I ever do; for you are men,
24And rest eternal sorely need)."
25So down we lay again. "I wonder,
26Will the world ever saner be,"
27Said one, "than when He sent us under
28In our indifferent century!"
29And many a skeleton shook his head.
30"Instead of preaching forty year,"
31My neighbour Parson Thirdly said,
32"I wish I had stuck to pipes and beer."
33Again the guns disturbed the hour,
34Roaring their readiness to avenge,


3] chancel: front area in a church holding the altar and the choir. Back to Line
9] glebe cow: cow put out to pasture on church land for the vicar. Back to Line
35] Stourton Tower: in Wiltshire, a tower built to honour Alfred the Great's victory over the Danes. Back to Line
36] Camelot: King Arthur's court, associated with Winchester or Tintagel in Cornwall.
Stonehenge: prehistoric megalithic circle on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
1914; Satires of Circumstance, Lyrics and Reveries with Miscellaneous Pieces (London: Macmillan, 1915): 7-8. PR 4750 S3 1914 Robarts Library
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.