These lines were quoted by leading journals which were carrying war news.
The Lady appearing before Alfred tells him that there is nothing much to look forward to, if it is only comfort that he is desiring. Things would only get tougher and man has to keep fighting as evil would only return stronger each time to engulf.
Earl Ogier of the Stone and Sling, a General in King Gurthrum's army sings these lines in reply to the sentimental songs sung earlier by another Earl Elf, and Prince Harold before him who sang of the pleasures of this earth. He refutes their songs in which they speak about gods and women. Here he says that when all the pleasures are enjoyed , in life there is only Hate left. Having grown old, men like him and King Guthrum know that there is no such thing as true love.
Chesterton with his strong faith in Roman Catholicism writes such lines to underline the state of Hell in side the minds of men of no belief. There is only despair and no faith in God to relieve the despair.
This is King Gurthrum's song which express the bleakness of his heart. He sings in reply to the songs of Ogier and Elf before him , that, by now men have grown up to realize that there is no comfort of truth in any of the fanciful tales of gods and youth. The cold truth is that even gods die; even the mightiest kingdoms are raced down.