by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy

On Its Seizure By The English Under Allenby, September 1918
Did they catch as it were in a Vision at shut of the day-
When their cavalry smote through the ancient Esdraelon Plain,
And they crossed where the Tishbite stood forth in his enemy's way-
His gaunt mournful Shade as he bade the King haste off amain?
On war-men at this end of time-even on Englishmen's eyes-
Who slay with their arms of new might in that long-ago place,
Flashed he who drove furiously? . . . Ah, did the phantom arise
Of that queen, of that proud Tyrian woman who painted her face?
Faintly marked they the words "Throw her down!" rise from Night
Spectre-spots of the blood of her body on some rotten wall?
And the thin note of pity that came: "A King's daughter is she,"
As they passed where she trodden was once by the chargers' footfall?
Could such be the hauntings of men of to-day, at the cease
Of pursuit, at the dusk-hour, ere slumber their senses could seal?
Enghosted seers, kings-one on horseback who asked "Is it peace?"…
Yea, strange things and spectral may men have beheld in Jezreel!
September 24, 1918.

Last updated January 14, 2019