To France at Verdun

By George Sterling

            Glory to God for thy might,—
                Glory with prayer and song,
            France of the sword of light,
                Saving a world from wrong!
Thou who dost count not the pain and the cost,
    Music of cannon is forth on the world;
    Over thy borders what legions are hurled!
    Stand, or the world is lost!

            Ramparts of darkness were thine,
                Once, ere democracy's dawn-
            Dungeons and shackles malign,
                Precious to kings and their spawn;
Those thou hast crushed with thy terrible heel,
    Daughter of freedom, of justice and truth!
    War shall be thine in thy beautiful youth—
                Never a new Bastile!

            Ramparts of stars and of sun—
                These thou defendest to-day,
            Holding the hills of Verdun,
                Stronger than lions at bay.
Thou who in sorrow dost cry not "Alas!"
    Thou who in battle art first in the field,
    Stand (for the hearts of the world are thy shield)
            Crying, "They shall not pass!"

Bibliography Entry