'Lest we forget' (letter)

'Lest we forget' (letter)

Marion Craig

In the wake of Anzac Day 2001, may I crave space to rectify a misapplied famous line "Lest we forget." In fact, Rudyard Kipling addressed his hymn-poem to God; it was not applied to those fallen in war. It was written to correct vain boasting after victory. Fr Eustace Boylan SJ, a former editor of the Australian Sacred Heart Messenger thought highly of it. To quote one stanza from many:

"The tumult and the shouting dies,
The Captains and the the Kings depart.
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice
A humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet
Lest we forget. Lest we forget.

Fewer still know Kipling's lovely lines to Our Lady in "A Hymn Before Battle":

O Mary, pierced with sorrow,
Remember, reach and save
The soul that goes tomorrow
Before the God Who gave.
As each was born of woman,
For each in utter need,
True comrade and brave foeman -
Madonna, intercede!

Kew, Vic

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