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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 a 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 uncountered:
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 are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end they remain.

Photograph: Moreton Pinkney churchyard, Northamptonshire, England. November 2010

If you’d like to know more about Laurence Binyon, his wiki entry is here.

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3 comments

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Beautiful words – I do love your Remembrance Day posts…

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Stanza number 4 is read at every ANZAC and Rememberance service here in Australia, thank you for posting the whole poem, it was interesting to read. I find WW1 thoughts that much more meaningful, as my Grandad fought in France and made it home, but not the same man he was before.

Hanky always appears from my pocket for tears,when the horse goes past with the empty saddle and the boots backwards in the stirrups to represent the fallen of the Lighthorse.

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This is beautiful. Thanks for posting. I always knew some of the words, but had never read the complete poem. A whole generation was lost in this war. The sheer youth — so haunting. Reading Binyon’s biography now. Thank you for posting.

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