The Great War

from A Treasury of War Poetry, an electronic edition

England to Free Men

Men of my blood, you English men!

From misty hill and misty fen,

From cot, and town, and plough, and moor,

Come in -- before I shut the door!

Into my courtyard paved with stones

That keep the names, that keep the bones,

Of none but English men who came

Free of their lives, to guard my fame.

I am your native land who bred

No driven heart, no driven head;

I fly a flag in every sea

Round the old Earth, of Liberty!

I am the Land that boasts a crown;

The sun comes up, the sun goes down --

And never men may say of me,

Mine is a breed that is not free.

I have a wreath! My forehead wears

A hundred leaves -- a hundred years

I never knew the words: "You must!"

And shall my wreath return to dust?

Freemen! The door is yet ajar;

From northern star to southern star,

O ye who count and ye who delve,

Come in -- before my clock strikes twelve!