There was a time when all thy sons were proud
To speak thy name,
England, when Europe echoed back aloud
Thy fearless fame:
When Spain reeled shattered helpless from thy guns
And splendid ire,
When from Canadian snows to Indian suns
Pitt's soul was fire.
O that in days like these were, fair and free
From shame and scorn,
Fate had allowed, benignly, pityingly
That I was born!
O that, if struck, then struck with glorious wounds,
I bore apart
(Not torn with fangs of leprous coward hounds)
My bleeding heart!
We hate you - not because of cruel deeds
Staining a glorious effort. They who live
Learn in this earth to give and to forgive,
Where heart and soul are noble and fate's needs
Imperious: No, nor yet that cruel seeds
Of power and wrong you've sown alternative,
We hate you, we your sons who yet believe
That truth and justice are not empty creeds!
No, but because of greed and golden pay,
Wages of sin and death: because you smother
Your conscience, making cursed all the day.
Bible in one hand, bludgeon in the other,
Cain-like you come upon and slay your brother,
And, kneeling down, thank God for it, and pray!
I whom you fed with shame and starved with woe,
I wheel above you,
Your fatal vulture, for I hate you so,
I almost love you!
I smell your ruin out. I light and croak
My sombre lore,
As swaggering you go by, O heart of oak
Rotten to the core!
Look westward! Ireland's vengeful eyes are cast
On freedom won.
Look eastward! India stirs from sleep at last.
You are undone!
Look southward, where Australia hears your voice,
And turns away!
O brutal hypocrite, she makes her choice
With the rising day!
Foul Esau, you who sold your high birthright
For gilded mud,
Who did the wrong and, priestlike, called it right,
And swindled God!
The hour is gone of insult, pain and patience;
The hour is come
When they arise, the faithful mightier nations,
To drag you down!
England, the land I loved
With passionate pride,
For hate of whom I live
Who for love had died,
Can I, while shines the sun,
That hour regain
When I again may come to thee
And love again?
No, not while that flag
Of greed and lust
Flaunts in the air, untaught
To drag the dust! -
Never, till expiant,
I see you kneel,
And, brandished, gleams aloft
The foeman's steel!
Ah, then to speed, and laugh,
As my heart caught the knife:
"Mother, I love you! Here,
Here is my life!"