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For The Fallen

by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

English Poet

See also Australian Remembrance Poems and In Flanders Fields by McCrae

Robert Laurence Binyon was born in Lancaster, England in 1869. During WWI he served with the Red Cross. He wrote the poem For the Fallen in September 1914. Four lines (highlighted below) of his famous poem are read every year at Armistice services across Australia, Britain, and other Commonwealth countries and is inscribed on thousands of memorials around the world. Those four lines are also known as the League Ode, or simply as the Ode. More information can be found at the Australian Army website.

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her 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 their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at 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.

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