Laurence Binyon

Robert Laurence Binyon (1869 - 1943)

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Robert Laurence (Laurence) Binyon
Born in Lancaster, Lancashire, England, United Kingdommap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in London, Englandmap
[children unknown]
Died in Reading, Berkshire, England, United Kingdommap
Profile last modified | Created 23 Sep 2017
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Robert Laurence Binyon, generally known as Laurence Binyon, was born to Frederick Binyon and Mary (Dockray) Binyon in Lancaster, Lancashire in 1869. [1] He was educated at St Paul's School, London and Trinity College, Oxford. After leaving Oxford University in 1893 he joined the staff of the British Museum, working first in the Department of Printed Books and then the Department of Prints and Drawings, of which he became an Assistant Keeper in 1909. In 1913 he became Keeper of the Sub-Department of Oriental Prints and Drawings.

In 1904 Laurence Binyon married Cicely Margaret Powell in London, England.[2]

In 1915 he volunteered to help at a hospital in France for wounded French soldiers, working initially as an orderly for a few months. After the end of the First World War he returned to the British Museum.

During his time at the British Museum he wrote a number of catalogues and monographs on art.

Laurence Binyon, though, is best-known as a poet. He published a number of collections. His most famous poem is For the Fallen, written in 1914, lines from which are frequently quoted at Remembrance Day ceremonies:

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them."

In 1933-4 he was Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. In 1940 he was appointed Byron Professor of Poetry at the University of Athens, which he was forced to leave when the German army invaded Greece (he narrowly escaped capture).

Besides his own poems, he produced a major translation of Dante's Divine Comedy.

He died in a nursing home in Reading in 1943. [3]


For a more complete bibliography, please see freespace page

  • Poems and verse
    • Lyric Poems (1894)
    • Porphyrion and other Poems (1898)
    • Odes (1901)
    • Death of Adam and Other Poems (1904)
    • London Visions (1908)
    • England and Other Poems (1909)
    • "For The Fallen", The Times, 21 September 1914
    • Winnowing Fan (1914)
    • The Anvil (1916)
    • The Cause (1917)
    • The New World: Poems (1918)
    • The Idols (1928)
    • Collected Poems Vol 1: London Visions, Narrative Poems, Translations. (1931)
    • Collected Poems Vol 2: Lyrical Poems. (1931)
    • The North Star and Other Poems (1941)
    • The Burning of the Leaves and Other Poems (1944)
    • The Madness of Merlin (1947)
    • Poems of Two Wars (2016)


  1. England & Wales birth registration: Lancaster [district], Volume 8e, Page 663, September quarter 1869, mother's maiden name DOCKRAY
  2. England & Wales marriage registration: Marylebone [district], Volume 1a, Page 1188, June quarter 1904, groom named as Robert Lawrence BINTON
  3. England & Wales death registration: Reading [district], Volume 2c, Page 485, March quarter 1943, age 73

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