VI. Lancer

I ‘listed at home for a lancer,
   Oh who would not sleep with the brave?
I ‘listed at home for a lancer
   To ride on a horse to my grave.

And over the seas we were bidden
   A country to take and to keep;
And far with the brave I have ridden,
   And now with the brave I shall sleep.

For round me the men will be lying
   That learned me the way to behave,
And showed me my business of dying:
   Oh who would not sleep with the brave?

They ask and there is not an answer;
Says I, I will ‘list for a lancer,
   Oh who would not sleep with the brave.

And I with the brave shall be sleeping
   At ease on my mattress of loam,
When back from their taking and keeping
   The squadron is riding at home.

The wind with the plumes will be playing,
   The girls will stand watching them wave,
And eyeing my comrades and saying
   Oh who would not sleep with the brave?

They ask and there is not an answer;
Says you, I will ‘list for a lancer,
   Oh who would not sleep with the brave?

A.E. Housman, Last Poems
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Public domain: first published in 1922.

Lan"cer (?), n. [Cf. F. lancier.]

1.

One who lances; one who carries a lance; especially, a member of a mounted body of men armed with lances, attached to the cavalry service of some nations.

Wilhelm.

2.

A lancet.

[Obs.]

3. pl. Dancing

A set of quadrilles of a certain arrangement.

[Written also lanciers.]

 

© Webster 1913.

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