Ben Smith’s poem, For England and St George, calls to the patriotic heart of an Englishman to rise up and defend his Homeland. Some see this as a nationalistic poem, a political call to rally behind nationalism and advance a cause for England standing strong against the homogenised modern world.
Others see, given the time of publication, a foreshadowing celebration of victory over a common foe. Given that it was written a few weeks before victory in Europe on VE Day, 8th May 1945. Perhaps the call to rise up and deliver a victory is a call to rise up in celebration. To be ready to enjoy England once more in freedom to meet others and rejoice.
The poem also has echoes of William Shakespeare’s Henry 5th’s band of brothers speech. In our pandemic times, we could also look upon a new united victory over the virus.
For England and St George
Oh for England and St George,
Rise Up and Stand with Thee,
Fight, deliver a great victory,
Oh for England and St George.
This our day of National Pride,
Our English day we do not hide,
For the Dragon at the door,
Say we band of men,
This is Our England.
by Ben Smith. If you would like to read more, we recommend this book link:
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Poem – For England and St George by Ben Smith, April 23rd 1945