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Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon

To the Belgians

O race that Cæsar knew, 
	That won stern Roman praise, 
What land not envies you 
	The laurel of these days?
You build your cities rich 
	Around each towered hall,  
Without, the statued niche, 
	Within, the pictured wall. 

Your ship-thronged wharves, your marts 
	With gorgeous Venice vied, 
Peace and her famous arts 
	Were yours: though tide on tide
Of Europes battle scourged 
	Black fields and reddened soil, 
From blood and smoke emerged 
	Peace and her fruitful toil.
Yet when the challenge rang, 
	The War-Lord comes; give room! 
Fearless to arms you sprang 
	Against the odds of doom. 

Like your own Damien  
	Who sought that lepers isle 
To die a simple man 
	For men with tranquil smile,
So strong in faith you dared 
	Defy the giant, scorn 
Ignobly to be spared, 
	Though trampled, spoiled, and torn, 

And in your faith arose 
	And smote, and smote again, 
Till those astonished foes 
	Reeled from their mounds of slain, 

The faith that the free soul, 
	Untaught by force to quail, 
Through fire and dirge and dole 
	Prevails, and shall prevail.
Still for your frontier stands 
	The host that knew no dread, 
Your little, stubborn lands 
	Nameless, immortal dead. 

Robert Laurence Binyon

Robert Laurence Binyon's other poems:
  1. Nothing Is Enough!
  2. The Porch of Stars
  3. The Rain Was Ending, and Light
  4. To Women
  5. Invocation to Youth

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