Fair islands of the silver fleece,
Hoards of unsunned, uncounted gold,
Whose havens are the haunts of Peace,
Whose boys are in our quarrel bold;
OUR bolt is shot, our tale is told,
Our ship of state in storms may toss,
But ye are young if we are old,
Ye Islands of the Southern Cross!
Ay, WE must dwindle and decrease,
Such fates the ruthless years unfold;
And yet we shall not wholly cease,
We shall not perish unconsoled;
Nay, still shall Freedom keep her hold
Within the sea’s inviolate fosse,
And boast her sons of English mould,
Ye Islands of the Southern Cross!
All empires tumble–Rome and Greece -
Their swords are rust, their altars cold!
For us, the Children of the Seas,
Who ruled where’er the waves have rolled,
For us, in Fortune’s books enscrolled,
I read no runes of hopeless loss;
Nor–while YE last–our knell is tolled,
Ye Islands of the Southern Cross!
Britannia, when thy hearth’s a-cold,
When o’er thy grave has grown the moss,
Still Rule Australia shall be trolled
In Islands of the Southern Cross!



Other Poems by Andrew Lang

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