The Ode of Remembrance
The "Ode of Remembrance" is an ode taken from Laurence Binyon's poem, "For the Fallen", which was first published in The Times in September 1914.
The poet wrote "For the Fallen", which has seven stanzas, while sitting on the cliffs between Pentire Point and The Rumps in North Cornwall, UK. A stone plaque was erected at the spot in 2001 to commemorate the fact.
The plaque bears the inscription: "For the fallen. Composed on these cliffs 1914".
There is also a plaque on the beehive monument on the East Cliff above Portreath in central North Cornwall which cites that as the place where Binyon composed the poem. A plaque on a statue dedicated to the fallen in Valleta, Malta is also inscribed with these words.
The poem honoured the World War I British war dead of that time, and in particular the British Expeditionary Force, which by then already had high casualty rates on the developing Western Front. The poem was published when the Battle of the Marne was foremost in people's minds.
Over time, the third and fourth stanzas of the poem (although often just the fourth) were claimed as a tribute to all casualties of war, regardless of state.
The Ode has been recited in ceremonies since 1919, including at the Australian War Memorial’s inauguration in 1929 and at every ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day Ceremony held at the Memorial.
For the Fallen
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 at 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.
Laurence Binyon (1869–1943)