Marching Men

1Flaring bugle, throbbing drum,
2Onward, onward hear them come,
3Like a tide along the street
4Swells the sound of martial feet;
5On the breeze their colors streaming,
6In the sun their rifles gleaming,
7Pride of country, pride of race.
8Glowing in each ruddy face-
9    Marching men, marching men,
10Leaping pulses keep you pace.
11Measured, rhythmic, thousands strong,
12Sounds their tread the whole night long,
13Beating over heart and brain,
14Over hopes that bloomed in vain,
15Like the roll of distant thunder,
16That would tear a world asunder,
17All the nation's hope and pride
18Surging in the tireless tide-
19    Marching men, marching men,
20Love goes praying by your side.
21Deep the pathways they have worn
22Over women's hearts forlorn,
23Over lives grown thin and failing,
24Where the stars of hope are paling;
25Children's arms they must unbind,
26Love and laughter leave behind,
27Turn them from the beckoning morrow,
28And the praying hands of sorrow,
29Turn them to a place of dread
30Where the skies burn darkly red,-
31    Marching men, marching men,
32Grief shall follow in your tread.
33From the silver coasts outlying,
34Where the pallid ships are plying,
35Sweeping in from East and West,
36Over crag and mountain crest,
37Up from desert, grove and glen,
38Still there come those hosts of men;
39In their hands the sword aflame,
40On their lips an ancient name,
41Cleaving hearts and lives asunder,
42Trampling thrones and empires under;
43Temples lately love-forsaken
44They have entered and retaken,
45Earth itself their tread has shaken-
46    Marching men, marching men,
47Sleeping gods your shouts awaken!
Publication Notes: 
Helena Coleman, Marching Men: War Verses (London: J. M. Dent, 1917): 9-10. Internet Archive
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: