The Great War

from Great Poems of the World War, an electronic edition

The Rivers of France

THE rivers of France are ten score and twain,

But five are the names that we know--

The Marne, the Vesle, the Ourcq, and the Aisne,

And the Somme of the swampy flow.

The rivers of France, from source to the sea,

Are nourished by many a rill,

But these five, if ever a drought there be,

The fountains of sorrow would fill.

The rivers of France shine silvery white,

But the waters of five are red

With the richest blood, in the fiercest fight

For Freedom, that ever was shed.

The rivers of France sing soft as they run,

But five have a song of their own,

That hymns the fall of the arrogant one

And the proud cast down from his throne.

The rivers of France all quietly take

To sleep in the house of their birth,

But the carnadined wave of five shall break

On the uttermost strands of Earth.

Five rivers of France, see their names are writ

On a banner of crimson and gold,

And the glory of those who fashioned it

Shall nevermore cease to be told.