Robert Laurence Binyon
England - Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon
Shall we but turn from braggart pride
Our race to cheapen and defame?
Before the world to wail, to chide,
And weakness as with vaunting claim?
Ere the hour strikes, to abdicate
The steadfast spirit that made us great,
And rail with scolding tongues at fate?
If England's heritage indeed
Be lost, be traded quite away
For fatted sloth and fevered greed;
If, inly rotting, we decay;
Suffer we then what doom we must,
But silent, as befits the dust
Of them whose chastisement was just.
But rather, England, rally thou
Whatever breathes of faith that still
Within thee keeps the undying vow
And dedicates the constant will.
For such yet lives, if not among
The boasters, or the loud of tongue
Who cry that England's knell is rung.
The faint of heart, the small of brain,
In thee but their own image find:
Beyond such thoughts as these contain
A mightier Presence is enshrined.
Nor meaner than their birthright grown
Shall these thy latest sons be shown,
So thou but use them for thine own.
By those great spirits burning high
In our home's heaven, that shall be stars
To shine, when all is history
And rumour of old, idle wars;
By all those hearts which proudly bled
To make this rose of England red;
The living, the triumphant dead;
By all who suffered and stood fast
That Freedom might the weak uphold,
And in men's ways of wreck and waste
Justice her awful flower unfold;
By all who out of grief and wrong
In passion's art of noble song
Made Beauty to our speech belong;
By those adventurous ones who went
Forth overseas, and, self--exiled,
Sought from far isle and continent
Another England in the wild,
For whom no drums beat, yet they fought
Alone, in courage of a thought
Which an unbounded future wrought;
Yea, and yet more by those to--day
Who toil and serve for naught of gain,
That in thy purer glory they
May melt their ardour and their pain;
By these and by the faith of these,
The faith that glorifies and frees,
Thy lands call on thee, and thy seas.
If thou hast sinned, shall we forsake
Thee, or the less account us thine?
Thy sores, thy shames on us we take.
Flies not for us thy famed ensign?
Be ours to cleanse and to atone;
No man this burden bears alone;
England, our best shall be thine own.
Lift up thy cause into the light!
Put all the factious lips to shame!
Our loves, our faiths, our hopes unite
And strike into a single flame!
Whatever from without betide,
O purify the soul of pride
In us; thy slumbers cast aside;
And of thy sons be justified!
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