Soldier Ask Not



Soldier, ask not – now, or ever,
Where to war your banners go.
Anarch’s legions all surround us.
Strike – and do not count the blow!

Glory, honor, praise and profit,
Are but toys of tinsel worth.
Render up your work, unasking,
Leave the human clay to earth.

Blood and sorrow, pain unending,
Are the portion of us all.
Grasp the naked sword, opposing,
Gladly in the battle fall.

So shall we, anointed soldiers,
Stand at last before the Throne,
Baptized in our wounds, red-flowing,
Sealed unto our Lord – alone!

In a science fiction mood today.  Who can tell me, without using a search engine, the novel in which the above poem appeared, the author and the cycle of novels it was part of?

5 Responses to Soldier Ask Not

  1. Bill Hoogsteden says:

    I believe it’s from “Soldier Ask Not” by Gordon R Dickerson part of his Chylde(sp?) Cycle stories!

  2. Donald R. McClarey says:

    On target Bill. One of the few science fiction books to give a serious examination of religious faith.

    Here is some information on the cycle of novels by Dickson.

  3. Bill Hoogsteden says:

    I hated the “Friendlies” in “Dorsai”, but “Soldier Ask Not” shed them in a new light. They were critical in mankind’s fight against the others.

  4. Donald R. McClarey says:

    I liked the section of the novel where the protagonist Tam Olyn found that he could not laugh at the fanatic Friendly NCO because he recognized that the NCO would be gladly burned alive for the least of his beliefs while Olyn was unsure he could endure any pain for the greatest of his. Rare to find such humility regarding the power of faith in a science fiction novel.

    Jamethon Black’s declaration of his faith I found very moving towards the end of the book.

  5. Donald says:

    One small correction to Bill’s response. The author was Gordon R. Dickson in his Childe Cycle. A wonderful series dealing with different facets of human personalities that split off genetically when colony worlds are established. In the end he makes a strong arguement of the need for each portion being reintegrated into the whole of humanity. The reintegration being required for the whole to transcend to a higher level. He also drew a good balance between one man’s fanatic being another’s true believer.

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