That night your great guns, unawares, Shook all our coffins as we lay, And broke the chancel window-squares; We thought it was the Judgment-day And sat upright. While drearisome Arose the howl of wakened hounds: The mouse let fall the altar-crumb, The worms drew back into the mounds, The glebe cow drooled. Till God called, "No; It's gunnery practice out at sea Just as before you went below; The world is as it used to be: "All nations striving strong to make Red war yet redder. Mad as hatters They do no more for Christés sake Than you who are helpless in such matters. "That this is not the judgment-hour For some of them's a blessed thing; For if it were they'd have to scour Hell's floor for so much threatening ... "Ha, ha. It will be warmer when I blow the trumpet (if indeed I ever do; for you are men, And rest eternal sorely need)." So down we lay again. "I wonder, Will the world ever saner be," Said one, "than when He sent us under In our indifferent century!" And many a skeleton shook his head. "Instead of preaching forty year," My neighbour Parson Thirdly said, "I wish I had stuck to pipes and beer." Again the guns disturbed the hour, Roaring their readiness to avenge, As far inland as Stourton Tower, And Camelot, and starlit Stonehenge.
See also "...and starlit Stonehenge", D. Jex's setting, which either refers to or uses this text.
- by Thomas Hardy (1840 - 1928), "Channel Firing" [author's text not yet checked against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Gerald Finzi (1901 - 1956), "Channel firing", op. 16 no. 5, published 1949 [baritone, piano], from Before and After Summer, no. 5. [text verified 1 time]
- by Irwin Heilner (b. 1908), "Channel firing", 1966. [medium voice, piano] [text not verified]
- by Leo Smit (1921 - 1999), "Channel firing", 1970. [baritone, piano] [text not verified]
Researcher for this text: Ted Perry
This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 36
Word count: 230