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The Chant of the Vultures

From The Sun, April 17, 1915. By Edwin Markham.

We are circling, glad of the battle; we joy in the smell of the smoke.
Fight on in the hell of the trenches; we publish your names with a croak!
Ye will lie in dim heaps when the sunset blows cold on the reddening sand;
Yet fight, for the dead will have wages: a death-clutch of dust in the hand.
Ye have given us banquet, O kings, and still do we clamor for more;
Vast, vast is our hunger, as vast as the sea-hunger gnawing the shore.

O kings, ye have catered to vultures—have chosen to feed us, forsooth,
The joy of the world and her glory, the hope of the world and her youth.
O kings, ye are diligent lackeys; we laurel your names with our praise,
For ye are the staff of our comfort, for ye are the strength of our days.
Then spur on the host in the trenches to give up the sky at a stroke;
We tell all the winds of their glory—we publish their fame with a croak!

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