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by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

All night the ways of Heaven were desolate,
   Long roads across a gleaming empty sky.
   Outcast and doomed and driven, you and I,
Alone, serene beyond all love or hate,
Terror or triumph, were content to wait,
   We, silent and all-knowing. Suddenly
   Swept through the heaven low-crouching from on high,
One horseman, downward to the earth's low gate.
Oh, perfect from the ultimate height of living,
   Lightly we turned, through wet woods blossom-hung,
Into the open. Down the supernal roads,
   With plumes a-tossing, purple flags far flung,
Rank upon rank, unbridled, unforgiving,
   Thundered the black battalions of the Gods.


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