England to Germany in 1914

By Thomas Hardy 1840–1928 Thomas Hardy

Autumn 1914

'O England, may God punish thee!'
— Is it that Teuton genius flowers
Only to breathe malignity
Upon its friend of earlier hours?
— We have eaten your bread, you have eaten ours,
We have loved your burgs, your pines' green moan,
Fair Rhine-stream, and its storied towers;
Your shining souls of deathless dowers
Have won us as they were our own:

We have nursed no dreams to shed your blood,
We have matched your might not rancorously
Save a flushed few whose blatant mood
You heard and marked as well as we
To tongue not in their country's key;
But yet you cry with face aflame,
'O England, may God punish thee!'
And foul in onward history,
And present sight, your ancient name.

Source: Thomas Hardy: The Complete Poems (Palgrave, 2001)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Thomas Hardy 1840–1928

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Thomas  Hardy

Biography

One of the most renowned poets and novelists in English literary history, Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in the English village of Higher Bockhampton in the county of Dorset. He died in 1928 at Max Gate, a house he built for himself and his first wife, Emma Lavinia Gifford, in Dorchester, a few miles from his birthplace. Hardy’s youth was influenced by the musicality of his father, a stonemason and fiddler, and his mother, Jemima . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.