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          Out of the mouth of the Mother of God,
          More than the doors of doom,
          I call the muster of Wessex men
          From grassy hamlet or ditch or den,
          To break and be broken, God knows when,
          But I have seen for whom.

          Out of the mouth of the Mother of God
          Like a little word come I;
          For I go gathering Christian men
          From sunken paving and ford and fen,
          To die in a battle, God knows when,
          By God, but I know why.

          And this is the word of Mary,
          The word of the world's desire
          'No more of comfort shall ye get,
          Save that the sky grows darker yet
          And the sea rises higher.'

          Then silence sank. And slowly
          Arose the sea-land lord,
          Like some vast beast for mystery,
          He filled the room and porch and sky,
          And from a cobwebbed nail on high
          Unhooked his heavy sword.

          Up on the shrill sea-downs and up
          Went Alfred all alone,
          Turning but once e'er the door was shut,
          Shouting to Eldred over his butt,
          That he bring all spears to the woodman's hut
          Hewn under Egbert's Stone.

          And he turned his back and broke the fern,
          And fought the moths of dusk,
          And went on his way for other friends
          Friends fallen of all the wide world's ends,
          From Rome that wrath and pardon sends
          And the grey tribes on Usk.--G.K. Chesterton