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A poem by Edgar A. Guest

The Chaplain

Title:     The Chaplain
Author: Edgar A. Guest [More Titles by Guest]

He was just a small church parson when the war broke out, and he
Looked and dressed and acted like all parsons that we see.
He wore the cleric's broadcloth and he hooked his vest behind,
But he had a man's religion and he had a strong man's mind,
And he heard the call to duty, and he quit his church and went,
And he bravely tramped right with 'em everywhere the boys were sent.

He put aside his broadcloth and he put the khaki on;
Said he'd come to be a soldier and was going to live like one.
Then he refereed the prize fights that the boys pulled off at night,
And if no one else was handy he'd put on the gloves and fight.
He wasn't there a fortnight ere he saw the soldiers' needs,
And he said: "I'm done with preaching; this is now the time for deeds."

He learned the sound of shrapnel, he could tell the size of shell
From the shriek it make above him, and he knew just where it fell.
In the front line trench he labored, and he knew the feel of mud,
And he didn't run from danger and he wasn't scared of blood.
He wrote letters for the wounded, and he cheered them with his jokes,
And he never made a visit without passing round the smokes.

Then one day a bullet got him, as he knelt beside a lad
Who was "going west" right speedy, and they both seemed mighty glad,
'Cause he held the boy's hand tighter, and he smiled and whispered low,
"Now you needn't fear the journey; over there with you I'll go."
And they both passed out together, arm in arm I think they went.
He had kept his vow to follow everywhere the boys were sent.

[The end]
Edgar A. Guest's poem: Chaplain