At anchor in that harbour of the island,
The Chinese gate,
We lay where, terraced under green-clad highland,
The sea-town sate.
Ships, steamers, sailors, many a flag and nation,
A motley crew,
Junks, sampans, all East's swarming jubilation,
I watched and knew.
Then, as I stood, sweet sudden sounds out-swelling
On the boon breeze,
The church-bells' chiming echoes rang out, telling
Of inland peace.
O English chimes, your music rising and falling
I cannot praise,
Although to me it come sweet-sad recalling
Dear childish days.
Yet, English chimes, - last links of chains that sever,
Worn out and done,
That land and creed that I have left for ever, -
Ring on, ring on!
There is much in this sea-way city
I have not met with before,
But one or two things I notice
That I seem to have known of yore.
In the lovely tropical verdure,
In the streets, behold I can
The hideous English buildings
And the brutal English man!
I stand and watch the soldiers
Marching up and down,
Above the fresh green cricket-ground
Just outside the town.
I stand and watch and wonder
When in the English land
This poor fool Tommy Atkins
Will learn and understand?
Zulus, and Boers, and Arabs,
All fighting to be free,
Men and women and children,
Murdered and maimed has he.
In India and in Ireland
He's held the People down,
While the robber English gentleman
Took pound and penny and crown.
To make him false to his order,
What was it that they gave -
To make him his brother's oppressor?
The clothes and pay of a slave!
O thou poor fool, Tommy Atkins,
Thou wilt be wise that day
When, with eager eyes and clenched teeth,
Thou risest up to say:
"This is our well-loved England,
And I'll free it, if I can,
From every rotten bourgeois
And played-out gentleman!"