Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.
Only thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass. Yonder a maid and her wight
Come whispering by:
War's annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.
Written during the First World War, Hardy evokes the words of the Bible: 'Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms' Jeremiah 51:20