The Infantry that Would Not Yield

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Fugitive verse by Florence Earle Coates
The Infantry that Would Not Yield
Published in The Bellman (14 Dec 1918).
On the way to Verdun...

   the men... in a fateful hour of fear and woe,
Stood as a wall defensive ’gainst the foe,
And said :—They shall not pass !—FEC

Ah, yes; the French surprise us constantly;
A something in their spirit is so fine!...
I was in Paris when the famous Line
Went through after Verdun, and so could see
How a whole people, putting by its cares,
Came crowding to the well-loved thoroughfares
To view the men—not all—not all, alas!—
Who, in a fateful hour of fear and woe,
Stood as a wall defensive 'gainst the foe,
And said:—They shall not pass!

How surely these had saved her Paris knew—
Heroes who fronting Death turned not aside!
Her heart beat faster as they nearer drew,
And swelled with unimagined love and pride.
Artillery and cavalry went by,—
The plaudits of the people reached the sky!
But for the infantry— At sight of these,
A poignant silence fell upon the crowd:
In reverence the people's heads were bowed,
And they were on their knees.

Ah, yes; the French surprise us constantly!


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1927, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.