The Leveller

written by Robert Graves

The Leveller

— Robert Graves

Near Martinpuich that night of hell
Two men were struck by the same shell,
Together tumbling in one heap
Senseless and limp like slaughtered sheep.

One was a pale eighteen-year-old,
Blue-eyed and thin and not too bold,
Pressed for the war not ten years too soon,
The shame and pity of his platoon.

The other came from far-off lands
With bristling chin and whiskered hands,
He had known death and hell before
In Mexico and Ecuador.

Yet in his death this cut-throat wild
Groaned 'Mother! Mother!' like a child,
While the poor innocent in man's clothes
Died cursing God with brutal oaths.

Old Sergeant Smith, kindest of men,
Wrote out two copies and then
Of his accustomed funeral speech
To cheer the womanfolk of each:-


'He died a hero's death: and we
His comrades of 'A' Company
Deeply regret his death: we shall
All deeply miss so true a pal.'

About the poet


Robert Graves

Robert Graves was born in 1895 in Wimbledon, a suburb of London. Graves was known as a poet, lecturer and novelist. He was also known as a classicist and a mythographer. Perhaps his first known and revered poems were the poems Groves wrote behind the lines in World War One. He later became known as one of the most superb English language 'Love' poets. He then became recognised as one of the finest love poets writing in the English language. Members of the poetry, novel writing, historian, and classical scholarly community often feel indebted to the man and his works. Robert Graves was born into an interesting time in history. He actually saw Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee procession at the...

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