For the Fallen
For the Fallen
Laurence Binyon, Collected Poems of Laurence Binyon, I (London: Macmillan, 1931): 209-210.
1With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
2England mourns for her dead across the sea.
3Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
4Fallen in the cause of the free.
5Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
6Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
7There is music in the midst of desolation
8And a glory that shines upon our tears.
9They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
10Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
11They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
12They fell with their faces to the foe.
13They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
14Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
15At the going down of the sun and in the morning
16We will remember them.
17They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
18They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
19They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
20They sleep beyond England's foam.
21But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
22Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
23To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
24As the stars are known to the Night;
25As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
26Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
27As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
28To the end, to the end, they remain.
Publication Start Year
First published in The Times on 21 September 1914. Laurence Binyon wrote it while working at the Britsh Museum and did not go to the western front until 1916, then as a Red Cross orderly. The poem's fourth verse is now used worldwide during remembrance services, and is inscribed on many war monuments.
RPO poem Editors
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh