Who wrote the poem ‘For The Fallen’ (‘We Will Remember Them’)?
The powerful and evocative poem ‘For The Fallen’ was written by poet Laurence Binyon in 1914, after the British Expeditionary Force’s defeat at The Battle of Mons, the first action of the First World War. It was one of the earliest World War One poems to portray the realities of war, and today is considered particularly prescient, due to the fact that at the time, many believed it would be a quick and glorious war – and ‘over by Christmas’.
The poem’s haunting fourth stanza, with its iconic four lines, are known today as the ‘Ode of Remembrance’ and are recited at Remembrance Ceremonies all over the world.
Who has composed music for ‘The Fallen’?
The poem has been set to music by a number of composers, including Elgar, who set its text as part of The Spirit of England, Op. 80 in 1917. Today Douglas Guest’s 1971 composition, ‘They shall grow not old…’, is a regular part of Remembrance Sunday services.
Mark Blatchly set ‘For the Fallen’ as a work for treble voices, organ and trumpet (which plays ‘The Last Post‘ in the background).
What are the words to the poem ‘For The Fallen’ (We Will Remember Them)?
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.