From LitWiki
by Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon by George Charles Beresford (1915).jpg
Siegfried Sassoon by George Charles Beresford (1915)
WrittenOctober 31, 1916
CountryUnited Kingdom
Subject(s)World War I
Publication date1918

The Bishop tells us: “When the boys come back[1]
They will not be the same; for they’ll have fought
In a just cause: they lead the last attack
On Anti-Christ; their comrades’ blood has bought
New right to breed an honourable race, 5
They have challenged Death and dared him face to face.”

“We’re none of us the same!” the boys reply.
“For George lost both his legs; and Bill’s stone blind;
Poor Jim’s shot through the lungs and like to die;
And Bert’s gone syphilitic: you’ll not find 10
A chap who’s served that hasn’t found some change.”
And the Bishop said: “The ways of God are strange!”

Notes and Commentary

  1. Having returned as an invalid in 1917 from the European front, Sassoon had a change of heart about the war and began to express his concerns publicly and with his poetry (Abrams 1986, p. 1898).

Works Cited

  • Abrams, M. H., ed. (1986). The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 2 (Fifth ed.). New York: W. W. Norton.