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To the Belgians

Written by: Laurence Binyon | Biography
 | Quotes (3) |
 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 gorgeious Venice vied, 
Peace and her famous arts 
Were yours: though tide on tide 
Of Europe's 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 
Agains the odds of doom. 
Like your own Damien 
Who sought that leper's 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 land's 
Nameless, immortal dead.



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