Altars of Victory

By George Sterling

These are they that shook when the feet of War went by.
The Hun and his hate have rent their stones asunder.
Over them the cannon set once a steely sky—
Ruined town and fortress with names of battle-thunder.

    Douaumont, Noyon, Cambrai, Montfaucon,
      Verdun, Aulynoye and, Gouzeaucourt!

To the sound of mighty trampling and shock of iron seas,
Their roofs went down and their walls were beaten under.
Babylon and Tyre had no such end as these,
Ruined town and fortress with names of battle-thunder.

    Soissons, Thaumont, Nonsard, Revillon,
      Avion, Grandpré, Peronne, and Roye!

Cities of destruction, ravaged but august,
Their glory was not for the Teuton horde to plunder—
Goals of huge hopes, mounds of immortal dust,
Ruined town and fortress with names of battle-thunder.

    Roulers, Laon, Arras, Courticon, Challerange,
         Ronnsoy and Morlancourt!

Over their thresholds young feet shall go again,
Safe from the mire of the Hun's colossal blunder,
Splendor is on them by reason of their slain—
On ruined town and fortress with names of battle-thunder.

    Audenarde, Haubourdin, Tournoi, Le Nouvion,
      Thourout, Consenvoye and Sivry-sur-Marne!

Of the world's deeper music part now forevermore,
Their fame shall ring afar in shining courts of wonder—
Echoes cast eternal from sounding walls of war,
O ruined town and fortress with names of battle-thunder!

    Avion, Grandpré Peronne and Roye!
     Charleroi, Longuyon and Hourdomont!

Originally titled, "Altars of War"

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