England: an Ode


     Sea and strand, and a lordlier land than sea-tides rolling and
           rising sun
     Clasp and lighten in climes that brighten with day when day that
           was here is done,
     Call aloud on their children, proud with trust that future and past
           are one.

     Far and near from the swan's nest here the storm-birds bred of her
           fair white breast,
     Sons whose home was the sea-wave's foam, have borne the fame of her
           east and west;
     North and south has the storm-wind's mouth rung praise of England
           and England's quest.

     Fame, wherever her flag flew, never forbore to fly with an equal
     France and Spain with their warrior train bowed down before her as
           thrall to king;
     India knelt at her feet, and felt her sway more fruitful of life
           than spring.

     Darkness round them as iron bound fell off from races of elder
     Slain at sight of her eyes, whose light bids freedom lighten and
           burn as flame;
     Night endures not the touch that cures of kingship tyrants, and
           slaves of shame.

     All the terror of time, where error and fear were lords of a world
           of slaves,
     Age on age in resurgent rage and anguish darkening as waves on
     Fell or fled from a face that shed such grace as quickens the dust
           of graves.

     Things of night at her glance took flight: the strengths of
           darkness recoiled and sank:
     Sank the fires of the murderous pyres whereon wild agony writhed
           and shrank:
     Rose the light of the reign of right from gulfs of years that the
           darkness drank.

     Yet the might of her wings in flight, whence glory lightens and
           music rings,
     Loud and bright as the dawn's, shall smite and still the discord of
           evil things,
     Yet not slain by her radiant reign, but darkened now by her
           sail-stretched wings.


     Music made of change and conquest, glory born of evil slain,
     Stilled the discord, slew the darkness, bade the lights of tempest
     Where the deathless dawn of England rose in sign that right should

     Mercy, where the tiger wallowed mad and blind with blood and lust,
     Justice, where the jackal yelped and fed, and slaves allowed it
     Rose as England's light on Asia rose, and smote them down to dust.

     Justice bright as mercy, mercy girt by justice with her sword,
     Smote and saved and raised and ruined, till the tyrant-ridden horde
     Saw the lightning fade from heaven and knew the sun for God and

     Where the footfall sounds of England, where the smile of England
     Rings the tread and laughs the face of freedom, fair as hope
     Days to be, more brave than ours and lit by lordlier stars for

     All our past acclaims our future: Shakespeare's voice and Nelson's
     Milton's faith and Wordsworth's trust in this our chosen and
           chainless land,
     Bear us witness: come the world against her, England yet shall

     Earth and sea bear England witness if he lied who said it; he
     Whom the winds that ward her, waves that clasp, and herb and flower
           and tree
     Fed with English dews and sunbeams, hail as more than man may be.

     No man ever spake as he that bade our England be but true,
     Keep but faith with England fast and firm, and none should bid her
     None may speak as he: but all may know the sign that Shakespeare


     From the springs of the dawn, from the depths of the noon, from the
           heights of the night that shine,
     Hope, faith, and remembrance of glory that found but in England her
           throne and her shrine,
     Speak louder than song may proclaim them, that here is the seal of
           them set for a sign.

     And loud as the sea's voice thunders applause of the land that is
           one with the sea
     Speaks Time in the ear of the people that never at heart was not
           inly free
     The word of command that assures us of life, if we will but that
           life shall be;

     If the race that is first of the races of men who behold unashamed
           the sun
     Stand fast and forget not the sign that is given of the years and
           the wars that are done,
     The token that all who are born of its blood should in heart as in
           blood be one.

     The word of remembrance that lightens as fire from the steeps of
           the storm-lit past
     Bids only the faith of our fathers endure in us, firm as they held
           it fast:
     That the glory which was from the first upon England alone may
           endure to the last.

     That the love and the hate may change not, the faith may not fade,
           nor the wrath nor scorn,
     That shines for her sons and that burns for her foemen as fire of
           the night or the morn:
     That the births of her womb may forget not the sign of the glory
           wherein they were born.

     A light that is more than the sunlight, an air that is brighter
           than morning's breath,
     Clothes England about as the strong sea clasps her, and answers the
           word that it saith;
     The word that assures her of life if she change not, and choose not
           the ways of death.

     Change darkens and lightens around her, alternate in hope and in
           fear to be:
     Hope knows not if fear speak truth, nor fear whether hope be not
           blind as she:
     But the sun is in heaven that beholds her immortal, and girdled
           with life by the sea.