Robert Laurence Binyon

(1869-1943 / England)

To Goethe - Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon

Goethe, who saw and who foretold
A world revealed
New--springing from its ashes old
On Valmy field,

When Prussia's sullen hosts retired
Before the advance
Of ragged, starved, but freedom--fired
Soldiers of France;

If still those clear, Olympian eyes
Through smoke and rage
Your ancient Europe scrutinize,
What think you, Sage?

Are these the armies of the Light
That seek to drown
The light of lands where freedom's fight
Has won renown?

Will they blot also out your name
Because you praise
All works of men that shrine the flame
Of beauty's ways,

Wherever men have proved them great,
Nor, drunk with pride,
Saw but a single swollen State
And naught beside,

Nor dreamed of drilling Europe's mind
With threat and blow
The way professors have designed
Genius should go?

Or shall a people rise at length
And see, and shake
The fetters from its giant strength,
And grandly break

This pedantry of feud and force,
To man untrue,
Thundering and blundering on its course
To death and rue?

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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