Home  »  A Treasury of War Poetry  »  The Name of France

George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953). A Treasury of War Poetry. 1917.

Henry van Dyke

The Name of France

GIVE us a name to fill the mind

With the shining thoughts that lead mankind,

The glory of learning, the joy of art,—

A name that tells of a splendid part

In the long, long toil and the strenuous fight

Of the human race to win its way

From the feudal darkness into the day

Of Freedom, Brotherhood, Equal Right,—

A name like a star, a name of light.

I give you France!

Give us a name to stir the blood

With a warmer glow and a swifter flood,—

A name like the sound of a trumpet, clear,

And silver-sweet, and iron-strong,

That calls three million men to their feet,

Ready to march, and steady to meet

The foes who threaten that name with wrong,—

A name that rings like a battle-song.

I give you France!

Give us a name to move the heart

With the strength that noble griefs impart,

A name that speaks of the blood outpoured

To save mankind from the sway of the sword,—

A name that calls on the world to share

In the burden of sacrificial strife

Where the cause at stake is the world’s free life

And the rule of the people everywhere,—

A name like a vow, a name like a prayer.

I give you France!