Sunday 8 October 2017


2017 1008 41 Poems that touch the heart: Only A Soldier!  Anonymous

UNARMED and unattended walks the Czar, 
Through Moscow's busy street one winter's day..
The crowd uncover as his face they see,- "
God greet the Czar !" they say.

Along his path there moved a funeral,
Grey spectacle of poverty and woe.
A wretched sledge, dragged by one weary man,
Slowly across the snow.
And on the sledge, blown by the winter wind,
Lay a poor coffin, very rude and bare.
And he who drew it bent before his load,
With dull and sullen air.
The Emperor stopped and beckoned to the man ;
"Who is't thou bearest to the grave ?" he said..
"Only a soldier, Sire !" the short reply.
"Only a soldier, dead."
"Only a soldier !" musing, said the Czar ; "
Only a Russian, who was poor and brave..
Move on. I follow. Such an one goes not
Unhonoured to his grave."
He bent his head, and silent raised his cap;
The Czar of all the Russias, pacing slow,.
Following the coffin, as again it went,
Slowly across the snow.
The passers of the street, all wondering,
Looked on that sight, then followed silently
Peasant and prince, and artisan and clerk,
All in one company.

Still, as they went, the crowd grew ever more,
Till thousands stood around the friendless grave,.

Led by that princely heart, who, royal, true,
Honoured the poor and brave.

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