The Great War

from Songs & Sonnets for England in War Time, an electronic edition

A Battle-Song

Sons of Britain, old in fame,

Heirs of an immortal name,

Strike, because the danger's near,

Strike for all ye hold most dear;

Plunged in combat, whelmed with strife,

Strike for liberty and life!

Sons of Britain, ye know well

How the clarion trumpets swell

When, like some tempestuous star,

Flares the oriflamme of war!

If it summon you to strife

Strike for liberty and life!

Will ye bear the Teuton heel

Crushing down your Commonweal?

Will ye not avenge the wrong

Europe hath endured so long?

Stay the tyranny and strife,

Strike for liberty and life?

Hark! they mutter in their sleep,

All those heroes of the deep --

Nelson, Rodney, Hawkins, Drake,

All who fought for Britain's sake,

Fought and died that such as we

Might strike for life and liberty!

Ye, who answer Honour's call

To strive, to conquer, or to fall --

Ye who call yourselves the sons

Of Marlboroughs and Wellingtons --

Claim your heritage of strife,

Strike for liberty and life.

Straining upwards to the light,

Striving ever for the right,

Sons of Britain, dauntless stand

For God and King and Fatherland.

Join the battle, face the strife,

Strike for liberty and life!

Daily Telegraph, August 27, 1914