With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.
They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
[Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), famous English poet, dramatist and art scholar;
born in Lancaster to a clergyman; penned the above ‘one of the most moving tributes
to the war dead’ on the Pentire Cliffs in Cornwall in September 1914; known as Ode of Remembrance it is invariably recited at all Remembrance Day ceremonies in Britain and elsewhere to this day; although too old to enlist, he went to the Western Front as a medical orderly in the Red Cross and the poem - The Healers, bears that stamp.]
In a vision of the night I saw them,
In the battles of the night.
'Mid the roar and the reeling shadows of blood
They were moving like light,
Light of the reason, guarded Tense within the will,
As a lantern under a tossing of boughs Burns steady and still.
With scrutiny calm, and with fingers Patient as swift
They bind up the hurts and the pain-writhen Bodies uplift,
Untired and defenceless; around them With shrieks in its breath
Bursts stark from the terrible horizon Impersonal death;
But they take not their courage from anger That blinds the hot being;
hey take not their pity from weakness; Tender, yet seeing;
Feeling, yet nerved to the uttermost; Keen, like steel;
Yet the wounds of the mind they are stricken with, Who shall heal?
They endure to have eyes of the watcher In hell, and not swerve
For an hour from the faith that they follow, The light that they serve.
Man true to man, to his kindness That overflows all,
To his spirit erect in the thunder When all his forts fall, —
This light, in the tiger-mad welter,
They serve and they save.
What song shall be worthy to sing of them —
Braver than the brave?
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