19 MAY 1900, Page 16



IN ancient days when, under cloudless skies, Spring's earliest swallows touched the Italian shore, Sad-hearted mothers gazed with yearning eyes, And cried, "Our darlings come to us once more."

A pretty fancy which our wiser age Has long outgrown. And yet—for England stands Watching the strife in which her sons engage At her behest, in those far Southern lands.

A thousand sons she mourns, untimely slain, Like early flowers that fail beneath the scythe. Swallows who seek your English home again, Over their graves your song was loud and blithe A few short weeks ago. Perhaps a gleam Lit heavy eyes that saw you swoop and dart, While memoxies of some willow-shaded stream Or windy down arose within the heart.

Wherefore to us, this spring, your song shall be Fraught with a deeper meaning than of yore, As if, across the leagues of,sundering sea, Some whispered message from our dead ye bore.