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All That They Had They Gave
Composed by Andea Ramsey
Series Editor: Rebecca Rottsolk
Catalog number: AMP 0859
Historic Central Junior High School in Lawrence, Kansas, (formerly Memorial High School) was built as a memorial to the former students from Lawrence who died in World War I. Inspired by an inscription above the school's stage, director Kevin Hart commissioned “All That They Had They Gave” as part of a project to highlight the history and memorial aspect of the school.
The lines above the stage (in bold below) are from a longer poem by Rudyard Kipling. A contemporary poet of the time, Kipling wrote “he King's Pilgrimage” about King George's journey in May 1922 to visit the WWI cemeteries and memorials being constructed in France and Belgium by the Imperial War Graves Commission. The king's journey was part of a wider movement in which tens of thousands of grieving relatives from the United Kingdom visited the war battlefields in the years after the Armistice.
The King's Pilgrimage
Our King went forth on pilgrimage
And there was little show of pride,
And the first land he found, it was shoal and banky ground –
And there was neither gull on the wing,
All that they had they gave – they gave; and they shall not return,
And the next land he found, it was low and hollow ground –
And there was neither blade of grass,
And the next land be found, it was bare and hilly round –
And there was neither paved highway
Father and mother they put aside, and the nearer love also –
And the last land he found, it was fair and level ground
And there was grass and the living trees,
'Twixt Nieuport sands and the eastward lands where the Four Red Rivers spring,
All that they had they gave – they gave –
In sure and single faith.
There can no knowledge reach the grave
To make them grudge their death
Save only if they understood
That, after all was done,
We they redeemed denied their blood
And mocked the gains it won.
performance by Central Junior High School Excalibur Choir
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