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The Dead Fox Hunter

Robert Graves 1895 (Wimbledon) – 1985 (Deià)

We found the little captain at the head;
His men lay well-aligned.
We touched his hand - stone cold - and he was dead,
And they, all dead behind,
Had never reached their goal, but they died well;
They charged in line, and in the same line fell.

They well-known rosy colours of his face
Were almost lost in grey.
We saw that, dying and in hopeless case,
For others' sake that day
He'd smothered all rebellious groans: in death
His fingers were tight clenched between his teeth.

For those who live uprightly and die true
Heaven has no bars or locks,
And serves all taste...or what's for him to do
Up there, but hunt the fox?
Angelic choirs? No, Justice must provide
For one who rose straight and in hunting died.

So if Heaven had no Hunt before hecame,
Why, it must find one now:
If any shirk and doubt they know the game,
There's one to teach them how:
Andthe whole host of Seraphim complete
Must jog in scarlet to his opening Meet.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Robert Graves

Robert von Ranke Graves was an English poet, scholar/translator/writer of antiquity specializing in Classical Greece and Rome, novelist and soldier in World War One. more…

All Robert Graves poems | Robert Graves Books

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