For the Fallen, and Other Poems


Robert Laurence Binyon (1869–1943) was a poet and art historian who spent his entire career at the British Museum, where he wrote studies of Dutch, British, and Asian art. He published his first poem at the age of 16 and continued to write poetry throughout his life. On September 21, 1914, shortly after the outbreak of World War I, Binyon published, in The Times of London, what would become his most famous poem, the elegy “For the Fallen.” Prophetic of the enormous losses that Great Britain would sustain over the next four years of war, the poem was later set to music by Sir Edward Elgar in his choral work The Spirit of England (1916–17). After the war, passages from “For the Fallen” were carved on numerous tombstones and cenotaphs, and it was frequently recited at Remembrance Day services commemorating Britain’s losses during the war, a practice that continues to the present. Presented here is For the Fallen and Other Poems, a small volume published in 1917 containing three of Binyon’s wartime poems, “For the Fallen,” “The Fourth of August,” and “To Women,” with accompanying plates. The book is a noteworthy example of a World War I poetry collection. All three poems had previously appeared in a longer work, The Winnowing Fan: Poems on the Great War, which was published in late 1914.

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Hodder & Stoughton, London


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  1. Hatcher, John. “Binyon, (Robert) Laurence (1869–1943),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, edited by H.C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Last updated: November 25, 2014