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The Unconquered Dead by John McCrae

 
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Wilfred Owen
John McCrae
Isaac Rosenberg
Siegfried Sassoon
Rupert Brooke
Charles Sorley
Alan Seeger
William Hodgson
Herbert Read
Edward Thomas
 
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[Alan Seeger] [Charles Hamilton Sorley] [Edward Thomas] [Herbert Read] [Isaac Rosenberg] [John McCrae]
[Rupert Brooke] [Siegfried Sassoon] [Wilfred Owen] [William Noel Hodgson]

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The Unconquered Dead

By John McCrae

". . . defeated, with great loss."

Not we the conquered! Not to us the blame
Of them that flee, of them that basely yield;
Nor ours the shout of victory, the fame
Of them that vanquish in a stricken field.

That day of battle in the dusty heat
We lay and heard the bullets swish and sing
Like scythes amid the over-ripened wheat,
And we the harvest of their garnering.

Some yielded, No, not we! Not we, we swear
By these our wounds; this trench upon the hill
Where all the shell-strewn earth is seamed and bare,
Was ours to keep; and lo! we have it still.

We might have yielded, even we, but death
Came for our helper; like a sudden flood
The crashing darkness fell; our painful breath
We drew with gasps amid the choking blood.

The roar fell faint and farther off, and soon
Sank to a foolish humming in our ears,
Like crickets in the long, hot afternoon
Among the wheat fields of the olden years.

Before our eyes a boundless wall of red
Shot through by sudden streaks of jagged pain!
Then a slow-gathering darkness overhead
And rest came on us like a quiet rain.

Not we the conquered! Not to us the shame,
Who hold our earthen ramparts, nor shall cease
To hold them ever; victors we, who came
In that fierce moment to our honoured peace.



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