The Avenue Of The Allies

A poem by Alfred Noyes

This is the song of the wind as it came
Tossing the flags of the nations to flame:

I am the breath of God. I am His laughter.
I am His Liberty. That is my name.

So it descended, at night, on the city.
So it went lavishing beauty and pity,
Lighting the lordliest street of the world
With half of the banners that earth has unfurled;
Over the lamps that are brighter than stars.
Laughing aloud on its way to the wars,
Proud as America, sweeping along
Death and destruction like notes in a song,
Leaping to battle as man to his mate,
Joyous as God when he moved to create,--
Never was voice of a nation so glorious,
Glad of its cause and afire with its fate!
Never did eagle on mightier pinion
Tower to the height of a brighter dominion,
Kindling the hope of the prophets to flame,
Calling aloud on the deep as it came,

Cleave me a way for an army with banners.
I am His Liberty. That is my name.

Know you the meaning of all they are doing?
Know you the light that their soul is pursuing?
Know you the might of the world they are making,
This nation of nations whose heart is awaking?
What is this mingling of peoples and races?
Look at the wonder and joy in their faces!
Look how the folds of the union are spreading!
Look, for the nations are come to their wedding.
How shall the folk of our tongue be afraid of it?
England was born of it. England was made of it,
Made of this welding of tribes into one,
This marriage of pilgrims that followed the sun!
Briton and Roman and Saxon were drawn
By winds of this Pentecost, out of the dawn,
Westward, to make her one people of many;
But here is a union more mighty than any.
Know you the soul of this deep exultation?
Know you the word that goes forth to this nation?

I am the breath of God. I am His Liberty.
Let there be light over all His creation.

Over this Continent, wholly united,
They that were foemen in Europe are plighted.
Here, in a league that our blindness and pride
Doubted and flouted and mocked and denied,
Dawns the Republic, the laughing, gigantic
Europe, united, beyond the Atlantic.
That is America, speaking one tongue,
Acting her epics before they are sung,
Driving her rails from the palms to the snow,
Through States that are greater than Emperors know,
Forty-eight States that are empires in might,
But ruled by the will of one people tonight,
Nerved as one body, with net-works of steel,
Merging their strength in the one Commonweal,
Brooking no poverty, mocking at Mars,
Building their cities to talk with the stars.
Thriving, increasing by myriads again
Till even in numbers old Europe may wane.
How shall a son of the England they fought
Fail to declare the full pride of his thought,
Stand with the scoffers who, year after year,
Bring the Republic their half-hidden sneer?
Now, as in beauty she stands at our side,
Who shall withhold the full gift of his pride?
Not the great England who knows that her son,
Washington, fought her, and Liberty won.
England, whose names like the stars in their station,
Stand at the foot of that world's Declaration,--
Washington, Livingston, Langdon, she claims them,
It is her right to be proud when she names them,
Proud of that voice in the night as it came,
Tossing the flags of the nations to flame:

I am the breath of God. I am His laughter.
I am His Liberty. That is my name.

Flags, in themselves, are but rags that are dyed.
Flags, in that wind, are like nations enskied.
See, how they grapple the night as it rolls
And trample it under like triumphing souls.
Over the city that never knew sleep,
Look at the riotous folds as they leap.
Thousands of tri-colors, laughing for France,
Ripple and whisper and thunder and dance;
Thousands of flags for Great Britain aflame
Answer their sisters in Liberty's name.
Belgium is burning in pride overhead.
Poland is near, and her sunrise is red.
Under and over, and fluttering between,
Italy burgeons in red, white, and green.
See, how they climb like adventurous flowers,
Over the tops of the terrible towers....
There, in the darkness, the glories are mated.
There, in the darkness, a world is created.
There, in this Pentecost, streaming on high.
There, with a glory of stars in the sky.
There the broad flag of our union and liberty
Rides the proud night-wind and tyrannies die.

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