This is by no means the first collection of poems of the great war; and it is certain that it will not be the last. If it has one outstanding characteristic which distinguishes it from other collections, it is that the material for it is not the result of a quest among volumes of verse, and only to a slight degree is it the work of the recognized poets.
It owes its origin to the fact that the Editor has been a close reader of the English journals, magazines and reviews since August, 1914, and has been increasingly impressed with the fine quality of the war verse contributed by writers unknown or little known. The spirit rather than the form of this verse carries its appeal to the reader. It is not the work of professional verse writers who have seen in the events of the war stirring and timely literary material; but, to a large extent, it is the spontaneous expression of sincere feeling,--the feeling of the soldier in the trenches, waiting for the order to go "over the top" the next morning, and thinking of home, of England, of Oxford, or of the crocuses of Nottingham, or the feeling of the wounded man in the hospital or of the nurse who cares for him. In not a few instances, the poems, when printed, have borne, under the name of the writer, the inscription "Killed in action, -----," which has given the lines the peculiar poignancy of a message from a man who has fought his last fight, and has done it without fear or faltering.