There lies an isle, a splendour of the sea
Haunting as Babylon, illustrious as Rome:
A race of Saxon freemen there have home
In England fair, the shrine of liberty.
The blue sea loves to lap its shingly shores;
Murmuring in caves its own immortal story,
Whilst Beauty haunts its woodlands, dells, and moors,
And on its plains rich harvests wave their glory.
Unto its shores, like swallows to the south,
Are lured the mercantile of every clime;
There Commerce pours in every harbour mouth
Its untold Wealth in Labour maritime-
And on its seas with Freedom’s flag unfurl’d
Its navy sweeps-a wonder of the world.
Like olden Rome, like Carthage ancient queen-
World-conquering, the pride of seven seas-
Thou, England, stood amidst thy victories
And gazed upon thy laurels cedar-green-
The gift that like Prometheus thou did give
Humanity-won from Fate and Life;
A heritage whose evergreen will live
Whilst Liberty undaunted fronts the strife :
Flushed with thy conquest proudly thou didst lay-
Thy battle-panoply rusting by thy side-
Scar’d, gladden’d, like some knight of olden day
Gazing upon his prize-a conquer’d bride:
While in thy cloisters bards their harp-chords strung
And thy high greatness proudly, grandly, sung.
III: THE GENIUS
Lucid, within the night he saw a star:
Lighting the darkness of his soul, supreme,
Piercing its shadows deep it came. There, far,
His waking soul beheld a flashing dream,
Out of his idle youth, his lethargy
He woke, his being burning with desire,
And sought like one through scorn and infamy
To win, for men an elevating fire.
In solitude he wrought, fashion’d his dream:
White from the fires of life its chaos drew,
And by his gift promethean (supreme)
He forged a form that into Beauty grew:
He gave his work to men; engraved his name,
This English youth, upon the scroll of fame.
IV: THE LOVERS
When Twilight veil’d with blue the sunset gold
And cast o’er Earth its web of mystery,
Two lovers lost in Life’s infinity
Their love to each in deathless kisses told.
The brook did babble its eternal song;
The thrush did lilt the ecstasy of Life;
The stars, like flocks, the fields of heaven did throng,
While incense rose from perfumed flowers arife.
Ardent and long they stood in sweet embrace,
Stood dreaming of the years that Love would bring;
They read the love-light in each burning face,
And swift as light a dream in each did spring—
A dream that blossom’d like the orchard tree
And found its fruit in sweet maternity.
V: THE WORKMAN
Adventure Youth will have. Behold the days
When o’er the seas discoverers roamed to gain
The gleam, the treasure of an unknown main.
When Romeos went singing amorous lays
Unto the Juliets of their errantry,
And even now they dance at Carnival;
Gamble for wealth, watching the dice and ball;
Or seek for Chance amid Life’s pageantry.
But he, the workman, his adventure found-
Beat up the surges of his blood-in this:
He toiled for wife and children; from Life ground
Their sustenance just for a look, a kiss.
He toiled for love; his wealth of youth did spend
For love and birth, adventure without end.
VI: THE PORTENT
From Scotland down to Devon England lay
Immune from war; her poets of peace did sing
The labourer sow’d the harvest in the spring
That reapers gather’d in an autumn day:
The cities flourished, richer grew the trades,
E’en Learning proudly leapt into the van;
Man gendered social dreams for weaker man;
While lovers woo’d and wedded beauteous maids :
Upon the seas her navy watch did keep
O’er dreams of Commerce, purposes of men-
Sudden across the heavens there did sweep,
Reaching the crowded city, scattered glen,
A flaming meteor that the watchers saw,
Signal of bloody strife, presage of war.
Across the fields of peaceful Belgium came
Those lawless hosts, rampant, flamed with lust;
They piled with ruin, burned with wanton flame
Its homes and monuments-razed to the dust
The sculptured beauty that the centuries fled
Bequeath’d had to the world; wrought Calumny;
Ravished and bared to vestal sanctity,
Treading beneath their feet its hallow’d dead.
But like some god awaken’d from his dreams,
Latent with power, small, yet of Titan worth,
Belgium arose; she, mid the flames of Rheims,
Dying, was of a giant soul giv’n birth,
And then to aid this people, heroes, great,
England arose and fled her eastern gate.
VIII: THE CALL
Like solo flute above an orchestra
Freedom was heard calling her brave sons
To save a nation ravish’d by the Huns,
Wrest Belgium from a power sinistra.
Was England heedless of the trumpet call?
Did her best Youth linger for her to die?
No! from her cities, hamlets, towns, they all
Rushed to the ensign, waving in the sky.
The genius left his visions; dreams of fame;
The workman fled his offspring and his wife;
And lion Youth fearless and rampant came
To follow Freedom’s flag into the strife.
Old England saw proud Youth allegiance take-
Men with the souls of Wellington and Drake.
IX: YOUTH’S CONSECRATION
Lovers of Life! Dreamers with lifted eyes!
0 Liberty, at thy command we challenge Death!
The monuments that show our fathers’ faith
Shall be the altars of our sacrifice.
Dauntless, we fling our lives into the van,
Laughing at Death because within Youth’s breast
Flame lambent fires of Freedom. Man for man
We yield to thee our heritage, our best.
Life’s highest product, Youth, exults in life;
We are Olympian Gods in consciousness;
Mortality to us is sweet; yet less
We value Ease when Honour sounds the strife.
Lovers of Life, we pledge thee Liberty
And go to death, calmly, triumphantly.
X: THE SACRIFICE
O Thou who honour’d Earth so long ago,
O Kingly Christ, the holy Son of God,
Who bore in raven shades the nations’ woe
And thro’ Thy love the path of Calvary trod!
Thou who didst teach all men to succour need,
Didst vision give to dim and dreamless eyes,
(John William Streets)
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Based on Keywords: shingly, rheims, gendered, spring-, maritime, elevating, mercantile, discoverers, errantry, world-conquering, prize-a