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To Arms! (II) poem – Alfred Austin


Now let the cry, “To Arms! To Arms!”

Go ringing round the world;

And swift a wave-wide Empire swarms

Round Battleflag unfurled!

Wherever glitters Britain’s might,

Or Britain’s banner flies,

Leap up mailed myriads with the light

Of manhood in their eyes;

Calling from farmstead, mart, and strand,

“We come! And we! And we!

That British steel may hold the land,

And British keels the sea!”

From English hamlet, Irish hill,

Welsh hearths, and Scottish byres,

They throng to show that they are still

Sons worthy of their sires:

That what these did, we still can do,

That what they were, we are,

Whose fathers fought at Waterloo,

And died at Trafalgar!

Shoulder to shoulder see them stand,

Wherever menace be,

To guard the lordship of the land

And the Trident of the sea.

Nor in the parent Isle alone

Spring squadrons from the ground;

Canadian shore and Austral zone

With kindred cry resound:

“From shimmering plain and snow-fed stream,

Across the deep we come,

Seeing the British bayonets gleam,

Hearing the British drum.

Foot in the stirrup, hilt in hand,

Free men, to keep men free,

All, all will help to hold the land

While England guards the sea!”

Comrades in arms, from every shore

Where thundereth the main,

On to the front they press and pour

To face the rifles’ rain;

To force the foe from covert crag,

And chase them till they fall,

Then plant for ever England’s Flag

Upon the rebel wall!

What! Wrench the Sceptre from her hand,

And bid her bow the knee!

Not while her Yeomen guard the land,

And her ironclads the sea!


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