Dead and Buried


By Woodbine Willie: Geoffrey A. Studdert-Kennedy

 

Dead and Buried

I HAVE borne my cross through Flanders,

Through the broken heart of France,

I have borne it through the deserts of the East;

I have wandered, faint and longing,

Through the human hosts that, thronging,

Swarmed to glut their grinning idols with a feast.


I was crucified in Cambrai,

And again outside Bapaume;

I was scourged for miles along the Albert Road,

I was driven, pierced and bleeding,

With a million maggots feeding

On the body that I carried as my load.


I have craved a cup of water,

Just a drop to quench my thirst,

As the routed armies ran to keep the pace;

But no soldier made reply

As the maddened hosts swept by,

And a sweating straggler kicked me in the face.


There's no ecstasy of torture

That the devils e'er devised,

That my soul has not endured unto the last;

As I bore my cross of sorrow,

For the glory of to-morrow,

Through the wilderness of battles that is past.


Yet my heart was still unbroken,

And my hope was still unquenched,

Till I bore my cross to Paris through the crowd.

Soldiers pierced me on the Aisne,

But 'twas by the river Seine

That the statesmen brake my legs and made my shroud.


There they wrapped my mangled body

In fine linen of fair words,

With the perfume of a sweetly scented lie,

And they laid it in the tomb

Of the golden-mirrored room,

'Mid the many-fountained Garden of Versailles.


With a thousand scraps of paper

They made fast the open door,

And the wise men of the Council saw it sealed.

With the seal of subtle lying

They made certain of my dying,

Lest the torment of the peoples should be healed.


Then they set a guard of soldiers

Night and day beside the Tomb,

Where the Body of the Prince of Peace is laid,

And the captains of the nations

Keep the sentries to their stations

Lest the statesman's trust from Satan be betrayed.


For it isn't steel and iron

That men use to kill their God,

But the poison of a smooth and slimy tongue.

Steel and iron tear the body,

But it's oily sham and shoddy

That have trampled down God's Spirit in the dung.