We love to sing and play,
But should we spy a foeman's ranks,
We'd proudly run away!
Our fathers were both rude and bold,
And would not live like brothers;
But we are of a finer mould --
We're much more like our mothers!
Lovecraft calling other people wimps should have made him vanish in a puff of irony but, in his defense, the then 27-year-old was actually among the first Americans to enlist. His overbearing mother then raised hell to get him out of it, which should have killed his trash-talking credentials but at least spared us some truly awful trench poetry. Here's part of another call to war, "The Peace Advocate," about a vicar deciding to stop the cheek turns and kick some ass instead.
Then quick to his brain came manhood's thought,
As he saw his erring course;
And the vicar his dusty rifle brought
That the foe might at least by one be fought,
And force repaid with force.
One shot -- the enemy's blasting fire
A breach in the wall cuts thro',
But the vicar replies with his waken'd ire;
Fells one arm'd brute for each fallen spire,
And in blood is born anew.
Two shots -- the wife and daughter sink,
Each with a mortal wound;
And the vicar, too madden'd by far to think,
Rushes boldly on to death's vague brink,
With the manhood he has found.
And yes, it's World War I he's trying to rally support for with that writing style, not the Napoleonic Wars. Lovecraft wrote hundreds of poems and yet, at least when it came to jingoistic commentary, he never got very good at it. But it wasn't all rabble-rousing: Lovecraft also wrote dorky tributes to Christmas, his friends' cats and, of course, noted American patriot Robert E. Lee.
Whilst martial echoes o'er the wave resound,
And Europe's gore incarnadines the ground;
Today no foreign hero we bemoan,
But count the glowing virtues of our own!
Illustrious LEE! around whose honour'd name
Entwines a patriot's and a Christian's fame;
With whose just praise admiring nations ring,
And whom repenting foes contritely sing!
It goes on like that for another few dozen lines, but you don't deserve to have them inflicted on you. Just remember that while Lovecraft may have mastered the horror story, he also mastered being a gigantic dweeb.
Mark is on Twitter and wrote a book.