[Editor: This poem, by Clara Leonar Patey, was published in the Frankston & Somerville Standard (Frankston, Vic.), 22 April 1921. In earlier times, Anzac Day (25 April) was sometimes referred to as “Remembrance Day”.]
“Lest We Forget” heroic sacrifices,
“Lest We Forget” the fearful price they paid,
“Lest We Forget” the debt that looms colossal,
“Lest We Forget” those promises we made,
Or memory, enfeebled, stray
Give us, we pray, Remembrance Day.
Ours now the right of liberty and freedom,
Bought with the life blood of Australia’s best;
Then, as we hope for mercy at the Judgment,
Must each with honor issue from the test
Our world shall be our bond indeed,
Or we for Justice dare not plead.
“If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep,”
Rest, rest, dear hearts, we must keep our faith with thee,
Or, conscience dying, our every path would haunt;
Still grim and gaunt, marring eternity
Sleep, sleep! In all good faith we’ll keep
Thy memory with reverence. Sleep!
And monuments of love and pride uprising,
A people’s tribute to our gallant dead
Shall be aflame with honor, valour, glory,
And sculptured stone a holy radiance shed.
Each hallowed token breathe a prayer
Being wrought for selflessness so rare.
Australians all, the debt is still unpaid,
But golden opportunities outspread;
Oh! make these symbols of our love all worthy,
A nation honors thus her noble dead,
And brave hearts all, for whom we pray.
God’s blessing on Remembrance Day.
— Clara Leonar Patey
Frankston & Somerville Standard (Frankston, Vic.), 22 April 1921, p. 1 (in the “Poet’s Corner” section, with the following notation: Written specially for “The Standard.”)
Also published in:
The Frankston and Somerville Standard (Frankston, Vic.), 12 November 1926, p. 2
Following the First World War (1914-1948), Anzac Day (25 April) was sometimes referred to as “Remembrance Day”, whilst Armistice Day (11 November) was referred to as “Remembrance Day” from the 1920s onwards (especially from the 1940s).
The 1926 printing of this poem, in The Frankston and Somerville Standard (12 November 1926), included the following preface:
This poem was written originally by the late Mrs. Clara L. Patey for the Bendigo Soldiers’ Memorial, and published in her book of verse, entitled “Rosemary.” The late Mrs. Patey, during her residence in Seaford, was a regular contributor to the columns of the “Standard.”
Judgment = the judgment of God, after the death of someone
thee = (archaic) you (regarding a person as the object in a sentence)
thy = (archaic) your
ye = (archaic; dialectal) you (still in use in some places, e.g. in Cornwall, Ireland, Newfoundland, and Northern England; it can used as either the singular or plural form of “you”, although the plural form is the more common usage)
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