Prince of the knights of air
Who live to do and dare—
    To dare and die that Britain be kept whole,
Poor is the praise we bring
And weak our words to wing
    With song an empire’s gratitude of soul.

But we who saw you sweep
To Courtrai and down-leap
    Thro’ shot and shell and launch your bomb,
        held breath
To wonder at your skill,
To marvel at the will
    That bade you turn for home and race with

Foredoomed, shot thro’ and thro’,
One thing you could not do—
    You could not yield your brave wings to the
Others when you had gone
Might with them wing alone
    Dauntless to bring back news—the bomb to

So tho’ your eyes grew dim
With grip unloosed and grim
    You steered for home and gently swooped to
Stayed your soul fain for flight,
Gave your last message right,
    Then swooned and passed beyond all battle-

When, when shall ever fade
The hero’s flight you made,
    The gallant race you rode with Death and
Oh, conquerors of the air
Who live to do and dare,
    Has Dorset ever reared a braver son?

NOTE—Second-Lieutenant William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse of Parnham House, Dorset, one of the most daring of our younger airmen, flew off alone in his biplane to Courtrai.  Gliding down to a height of 300 ft. while he was the target of hundreds of rifles and of anti-aircraft armament, he dropped a large bomb on the railway junction.  He was severely wounded in the thigh and might have saved his life by coming down in the enemy’s lines.  But he decided to save his machine at all costs, and descending to a height of only 100 ft. in order to increase his speed, he made for home, and was again wounded, this time mortally.  He still flew on, however, and without coming down at the nearest of our aerodromes he went all the way back to his own base; here he executed a perfect landing and made his report.  He died in hospital not long afterwards.—The Times, May 3rd.

(The European War 1914-1915 Poems, pp. 212-4)