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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 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.

Poem by Laurence Binyon
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