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Editor's Selection of Poems
An Appeal to America on Behalf of the Belgian Destitute

by Thomas Hardy

Seven millions stand
Emaciate, in that ancient Delta-land:-
We here, full-charged with our own maimed and dead,
And coiled in throbbing conflicts slow and sore,
Can poorly soothe these ails unmerited
Of souls forlorn upon the facing shore! -
Where naked, gaunt, in endless band on band
Seven millions stand.

No man can say
To your great country that, with scant delay,
You must, perforce, ease them in their loud need:
We know that nearer first your duty lies;
But--is it much to ask that you let plead
Your lovingkindness with you--wooing-wise -
Albeit that aught you owe, and must repay,
No man can say?

December 1914.
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