Scripture Verse

The ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly. Isaiah 33:7


John B. Dykes

Words: Win­i­fred M. Letts, Hal­low-e’en and Po­ems of the War (Lon­don: Smith, El­der & Com­pa­ny, 1916), pag­es 11–12.

Music: Me­li­ta John B. Dykes, in Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1861 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Letts (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), or a bet­ter one of Dykes, would you ?


Ambassadors of Christ you go
Up to the very gates of hell,
Through fog of powder, storm of shell,
To speak your Master’s message: Lo,
The Prince of Peace is with you still,
His peace be with you, His goodwill.

It is not small, your priesthood’s price,
To be a man and yet stand by,
To hold your life whilst others die,
To bless, not share the sacrifice,
To watch the strife and take no part—
You with the fire at your heart.

But yours, for our great captain Christ
To know the sweat of agony,
The darkness of Gethsemane
In anguish for these souls unpriced.
Viceregent of God’s pity you,
A sword must pierce your own soul through.

In the pale gleam of new-born day
Apart in some tree-shadowed place,
Your altar but a packing case,
Rude as the shed where Mary lay,
Your sanctuary the rain-drenched sod
You bring the kneeling soldier, God.

As sentinel you guard the gate
’Twixt life and death, and unto death
Speed the brave soul whose failing breath
Shudders not at the grip of fate,
But answers, gallant to the end,
Christ is the Word—and I His friend.

Then God go with you, priest of God,
For all is well and shall be well.
What though you tread the roads of hell?
With nail-pierced feet these ways He trod
Above the anguish and the loss
Still floats the ensign of His cross.