The Great War

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

The Tribute

Not by the valour of Belgium, nor the lightning sabre of France,

Not by the thunder of Britain's Fleet, and the Bear's unchecked advance,

Not by these fears, Lord Kaiser, tho' they shatter a tyrant's lust,

Is your heart most darkly troubled, and your soul brought down to the dust,

But by the great affirming of the lands we have knit as one;

By the love, by the passionate loyal love, of each separate free-born son,

Canada cries "We are coming!" and Australasia "We come!"

And you scowl that no Boer is rising at the beat of your German drum.

And the Men of Ind bear witness -- We have grumbled, but now no more;

We have shared your plentiful righteous Peace, we will share your righteous War,

Trust us to guard your Honour, one with yours is our breath;

You have dealt us an even justice, we are yours to the gates of Death.

Here in these storm-swept islands where we fought for the things of peace,

Where we quarrelled and strove in factions, at a stroke all factions cease,

And there in the vast dominions, more free than your Prussian lords,

The women are shouting for England and the men are drawing their swords.

Never was flag so world-loved as the flag we lift on high,

While your Prussian legions muster, while your Eagle screams in the sky;

And the God of Right give answer to your blood-and-iron brag,

Whether your hand is worthy to wrest from our hand that flag.

Daily Chronicle, August 11, 1914