Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MAN OF THE MARNE, by BLISS CARMAN



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THE MAN OF THE MARNE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The gray battalions were driving down
Last Line: Remember the marne and ferdinand foch.
Subject(s): Foch, Ferdinand (1851-1929); Holidays; Veterans Day; World War I; First World War


The gray battalions were driving down
Like snow from the North on Paris Town.
Dread and panic were in the air,
The fate of empires hung by a hair.
With the world in the balance, what shall decide?
How stem the sweep of the conquering tide?
God of Justice, be not far
In this our hour of holy war!
In one man's valor, where all were men,
The strength of a people was gathered then.

"My right is weakened, my left is thin,
My center is almost driven in,"
The soul of a patriot spoke through the hush,
"I shall advance," said General Foch.

Forth from Paris to meet the storm
They rushed like bees in an angry swarm.
By motor and lorry and truck they came
Swift as the wind and fierce as flame.
Papa Joffre knew the trick
Of stinging hot and hard and quick.
Not for ambition and not for pride,
For France they fought. for France they died,
Striking the blow of the Marne that hurled
The barbarians back and saved the world.
The German against that hope forlorn
Broke his drive like a crumpled horn.
Their right was weakened, their left was thin,
Their center was almost driven in;
When the tide of battle turned with a rush --
For France was there -- and Ferdinand Foch.

Not since Garibaldi's stroke
Freed his land from the Austrian yoke,
And Italy after a thousand years
Walked in beauty among her peers;
Not since Nelson followed the star
Of Freedom to triumph at Trafalgar
on the tossing floor of the Western seas;
No, not since Miltiades
Fronted the Persian hosts and won
Against the tyrant at Marathon,
Has a greater defender of liberty
Stood and struck for the cause than he,
Whose right was weakened, whose left was thin,
Whose center was almost driven in,
But whose iron courage no fate could crush
Nor hinder. "I shall advance," said Foch.
We who are left to carry the fray
For civilization on to-day,
The war of the angels for goodly right
Against the devil of brutish might, --
The war for manhood, mercy, and love,
And peace with honor all price above, --
What shall we answer, how prepare,
For Destiny's challenge, Who goes there?
And pass with the willing and worthy to give
Life, that freedom and faith may live?
When promise and patience are wearing thin,
When endurance is almost driven in,
When our angels stand in a waiting hush,
Remember the Marne and Ferdinand Foch.





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