The Great War

from Songs & Sonnets for England in War Time, an electronic edition

To the Belgians

From England

O men of mickle heart and little speech,

Slow, stubborn countrymen of heath and plain,

Now have ye shown these insolent again

That which to Cæsar's legions ye could teach,

That slow-provok'd is long-provok'd. May each

Crass Cæsar learn this of the Keltic grain,

Until at last they reckon it in vain

To browbeat us who hold the Western reach.

For even as you, so we are, ill to rouse,

Rooted in Custom, Order, Church and King;

And as you fight for their sake, so shall we,

Stubbornly, inch by inch, and house by house;

Seeing for us, too, there's a dearer thing

Than land or blood -- and that thing Liberty.

Westminster Gazette, September 9, 1914