Robertson, born in 1882, was a Scottish war poet. Primarily a history teacher and lecturer during his 20s and early 30s, he took up a private soldier position in 1914, and fell in action at the attack on Serre in 1916. Robertson’s former teacher, P. Hume Brown, explains in the preface to Robertson’s second, and last, book of verses, Last Poems of Alexander Robertson, that Robertson’s poems “are the vivid presentment of the man as [his friends] knew him. They display all his intellectual eagerness, his consuming desire ‘to know the best that has been thought and said in the world'” (10). Robertson’s verses indicate what Brown describes as being “reflective”, “not decorative”, and “plain and direct” poetry (10). His books are apparently scarce, so expect more of his works from this second volume of poetry on this blog.
In la Sua Volontate è nostra Pace (DANTE)
By Alexander Robertson
From Last Poems of Alexander Robertson, 1918
I read these prayers a tender thought hath sent,—
For warriors dead and warriors sought of Death,
For stricken, anxious hearts that gave them breath;—
Commending all to the Omniscient.
And reading them, I hear an accent kind,
Even as the very voice of gentleness,
Or as of one who to the utmost stress
And weariness of living, is resigned,
Sure of their final passing. And I see
A church dim-lit and men and women still,
Soothed to the quiet acceptance of His Will
Who orders all things in Eternity;
And, as the great Florentine said, they find
Their peace in this obedience to His Mind.