First World War Poetry Digital Archive

The Cuirassiers Of The Frontier

THE CUIRASSIERS OF THE FRONTIER by ROBERT GRAVES Goths, Vandals, Huns, Isaurian mountaineers, Made Roman by our Roman sacrament, We can know little (as we care little) Of the Metropolis: her candled churches, Her white-gowned pederastic senators, The cut-throat factions of her Hippodrome, The eunuchs of her draped saloons. Here is the frontier, here our camp and place--- Beans for the pot, fodder for horses, And Roman arms. Enough. He who among us At full gallop, the bowstring to his ear, Lets drive his heavy arrows, to sink Stinging through Persian corslets damascened, Then follows with the lance---he has our love. The Christ bade Holy Peter sheathe his sword, Being outnumbered by the Temple guard. And this was prudence, the cause not yet lost While Peter might persuade the crowd to rescue. Peter renegued, breaking his sacrament. With us the penalty is death by stoning, Not to be made a bishop. In Peter's Church there is no faith nor truth, Nor justice anywhere in palace or court. That we continue watchful on the rampart Concerns no priest. A gaping silken dragon, Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God. We, not the City, are the Empire's soul: A rotten tree lives only in its rind.


“The Cuirassiers Of The Frontier,” by Graves, Robert (1895-1985). The Robert Graves Copyright Trust via First World War Poetry Digital Archive, accessed November 27, 2021,

Permitted Use

This item is available for non-commercial educational use under the terms of the Jisc Model Licence. Further details available at: