In heaven, a pale uncertain star,
Through sullen vapour peeps,
On earth, extended wide and far,
In all the symmetry of war,
A weary army sleeps.
The heavy-hearted pall of night
Obliterates the lines,
Save where a dying camp-fire’s light
Leaps up and flares, a moment bright,
Then once again declines.
Black, solemn peace is brooding low,
Peace, still unbroken, when
There comes a sound, an ebb and flow-
The steady breathing, deep and slow,
Of half-a-million men.
The pregnant dawn is drawing nigh,
The dawn of power or pain ;
But now, beneath the mournful sky,
In sleep’s maternal arms they lie
Like children once again.