Look forth, once more, with softened heart, Ere from the field of fame we part; Triumph and Sorrow border near, And joy oft melts into a tear. Alas! what links of love that morn Has War’s rude hand asunder torn! For ne’er was field so sternly fought, And ne’er was conquest dearer bought, Here piled in common slaughter sleep Those whom affection long shall weep Here rests the sire, that ne’er shall strain His orphans to his heart again; The son, whom, on his native shore, The parent’s voice shall bless no more; The bridegroom, who has hardly pressed His blushing consort to his breast; The husband, whom through many a year Long love and mutual faith endear. Thou canst not name one tender tie, But here dissolved its relics lie! Oh! when thou see’st some mourner’s veil Shroud her thin form and visage pale, Or mark’st the Matron’s bursting tears Stream when the stricken drum she hears; Or see’st how manlier grief, suppressed, Is labouring in a father’s breast, - With no inquiry vain pursue The cause, but think on Waterloo!" (from "Some Poems" by Sir Walter Scott)
Two poems, a century apart; two poems about War in Belgium. The first is the last stanza of Sir Walter Scott’s ‘The Field of Waterloo’, the second chosen by grieving parents of a man so young they were still reckoning his age in years and months. But Scott’s ‘The son, whom, on his native shore, The parent’s voice shall bless no more’ is yet blessed by his parents’ ‘trust in Christ to meet again’ and their prayer, ‘Rest in peace’.
The Raid on Zeebrugge was an unsuccessful and bloody attempt to block the port which was used by German U-boats to attack allied shipping. RMLI was the Royal Marines Light Infantry, based in Cheriton where George lies buried.
Was there much progress in a hundred years? Let us pray that all casualties of war may rest in peace, and that all of us now alive may live in peace.