Naked and grey the Cotswolds stand Beneath the autumn sun, And the stubble-fields on either hand Where Stour and Avon run. There is no change in the patient land That has bred us every one. She should have passed in cloud and fire And saved us from this sin Of war--red war--'twixt child and sire, Household and kith and kin, In the heart of a sleepy Midland shire. With the harvest scarcely in. But there is no change as we meet at last On the brow-head or the plain, And the raw astonished ranks stand fast To slay or to be slain By the men they knew in the kindly past That shall never come again-- By the men they met at dance or chase, In the tavern or the hall, At the justice-bench and the market-place, At the cudgel-play or brawl-- Of their own blood and speech and race, Comrades or neighbours all! More bitter than death this day must prove Whichever way it go, For the brothers of the maids we love Make ready to lay low Their sisters sweethearts, as we move Against our dearest foe. Thank Heaven! At last the trumpets peal Before our strength gives way. For King or for the Commonweal-- No matter which they say, The first dry rattle of new-drawn steel Changes the world to-day!