The Great War

from Poems of the Great War, an electronic edition


To the Humanity of America

When men are told in years ahead

How Fury forced the Belgian door

And ravished maids, struck children dead,

And fired the houses of the poor,

Will none, if still that nation lives

Our sires with blood and sweat begat,

Ask with the pride your greatness gives,

"What said America to that?"

Your children -- taught how Belgium stood

In flames that once were called Louvain,

And dashing from her eyes the blood

Struck at her foe and struck again --

Shall feel their hearts within them burn

To know that righteous word you said;

God! When the silent truth they learn,

Surely your sons will hang the head.

We ask not that of all your hosts

One man, one sword be sacrificed:

Your cousins guard these ancient coasts,

Your kinsmen charge this Antichrist:

But we expect your mighty voice

With judgment through the world to run,

O land of freedom, make your choice,

Are you for Belgium or the Hun?

We ask not that your shells should shriek

Above the flaming hills we climb,

But speak, O sons of Lincoln, speak!

Silence in such an hour is crime.

Your children judge you if you stand

In hearing of the Belgian cry,

Not only with the folded hand,

But with the cold, averted eye!

The soul has got its piercing steel,

The heart its fierce consuming fire,

Oh, make your voice like thunder peal,

All nations of the earth inspire!

We know your heart for Belgium bleeds,

But speak your soul, declare your mind,

Speak till the sin-red tyrant heeds

The voice of God and all mankind.