Monday, 5 July 2021

Geoffrey Howard (1889 – 1973) – British poet, writer and lawyer

Geoffrey was born on 27th November 1889.  Educated at Haileybury School, Hertfordshire before going on to study law at Oxford University, Geoffrey was commissioned into the Royal Fusiliers during the First World War. He became a Lieutenant and served on the Western Front.  After the war he qualified as a lawyer and became a Master of the Bench at the Inner Temple in London.   He died in 1973.

Geoffrey had poems published in five WW1 anthologies.

"Without Shedding of Blood . . ."

GOD gave us England from of old,

But we held light the gift He gave;

Our royal birthright we have sold,

And now the land we lost for gold

Only our blood can save.

Not till thousands have been slain

Shall the green wood be green again;

Not till men shall fall and bleed

Can brown ale taste like ale indeed.

Blood and blood must yet be shed

To make the roses red.

For minds made vile, and blind with greed,

For sins that spread from sire to son;

For loss of honour, loss of creed,

There yet remains one cure indeed —

And there remains but one.

Malvern men must die and kill

That wind may blow on Malvern Hill;

Devonshire blood must fall like dew

That Devon's bays may yet be blue;

London must spill out lives like wine

That London's lights may shine.

Lord, for the years of ease and vice,

For hearts unmanned and souls decayed,

Thou hast required a sacrifice—

A bitter and a bloody price—

And lo! the price is paid.

We have given all things that were ours,

So that our weeds might yet be flowers;

We have covered half the earth with gore

That our houses might be homes once more

The sword Thou hast demanded, Lord:

And, now, behold the sword!


Find my Past,_songs_of_the_fighting_men/Geoffrey_Howard

Catherine W. Reilly “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978), p. 175.

Dominic Hibberd & John Onions, Editors "The Winter of the World: Poems of the First World War" (Constable & Robinson Ltd., London, 2007) p. 331.