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The Unseen Undergraduates (Armistice Day, 1920)

By Vera Brittain





They'll steal across the darkened quads tonight,

And clasp each other by the hand, and use

The old endearing names, and talk of days

Before the stormy time, when battle's blaze

Called them to leave the haunts of golden years,

And idly dreaming Muse.


They'll flit unseen amid the shadows grey

Beneath some ivied window once their own,

Whereof they dreamed on summer days in France,

When wistful eyes before the great advance,

Knowing in death that other hands would reap

The harvest that they had sown.


Their day has passed, but they shall never pass;

They stand behind our urgent stream of life

Half-smiling and half-sad; the chapel hymn

Thrills with a deeper undertone, the dim

half-realised whisper of their War-won peace

Beyond our lesser strife.



Courtesy of Barry Cuttell