The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

The Road to France

The 1917 prize of the National Arts Club of New York was awarded to Mr. Henderson's poem. It was chosen out of more than four thousand that were submitted.

THANK God, our liberating lance

Goes flaming on the way to France!

To France--the trail the Gurkhas found;

To France--old England's rallying--ground!

To France--the path the Russians strode!

To France--the Anzacs' glory road!

To France--where our Lost Legion ran

To fight and die for God and man!

To France--with every race and breed

That hates Oppression's brutal creed!

All, France, how could our hearts forget

The path by which came Lafayette?

How could the haze of doubt hang low

Upon the road of Rochambeau?

How was it that we missed the way

Brave Joffre leads us along today?

At last, thank God! At last, we see

There is no tribal Liberty!

No beacon lighting just our shores,

No Freedom guarding but our doors.

The flame she kindled for our sires

Burns now in Europe's battle--fires.

The soul that led our fathers west

Turns back to free the world's opprest.

Allies, you have not called in vain;

We share your conflict and your pain.

"Old Glory," through new stains and rents,

Partakes of Freedom's sacraments.

Into that hell his will creates

We drive the foe--his lusts, his hates.

Last come, we will he last to stay,

Till Right has had her crowning day.

Replenish, comrades, from our veins

The blood the sword of despot drains,

And make our eager sacrifice

Part of the freely rendered price

You pay to lift humanity

You pay to make our brothers free.

See, with what proud hearts we advance

To France!

Notes

The 1917 prize of the National Arts Club of New York was awarded to Mr. Henderson's poem. It was chosen out of more than four thousand that were submitted.