Newspaper History presents media sourced from a United States newspaper dating back 108 years.

  • The Poor Little Guy

    From The Sun, August 24, 1914. By William Samuel Johnson.

    While the legions are locked on the dead line,
        While the dreadnoughts are glooming the seas,
    While horrors and rumor of headline
        Give a tang to an evening of ease,
    Let us kneel in the dust of all faction
        Let us pray to the Peace from on high
    For a small, unspectacular fraction—
        The poor little guy!

    In the fangs of the tangling wire
        He slips in the slime of the dead;
    He blinks at the spume of the fire
        And the scream of the stream of the lead;
    And yet—he knew nought of the plotting,
        And nought can he profit thereby;
    But his is the dying—and rotting—
        The poor little guy!

    Let us pray for his kine in the stable
        For his ox and his ass and his swine
    For his chair and his plate on the table
        For his cornfield and orchard and vine
    For the tilth where the women are plying
        For the bed where he never shall lie
    For the ache that is worse than the dying—
        The poor little guy!

    A pitiful pawn of Vienna,
        Of Kaiser, of King, or of Czar,
    He is pushed to the pit of Gehenna
        To the slide of the Great Abattoir.
    He goes as the wailing denial
        As the infinite, travailing cry
    Of the Peace to be born from his trial—
        The poor little guy!

    The Peace of the pure consummation
        Foretold in the ages before
    When nation shall strive not with nation
        Nor shall they learn war any more.
    But, Jesus!—the carrion faces
        That glare at the pestilent sky
    And the trench at the foot of the glacis—
        The poor little guy!