Beyond the Hills of Dream

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

Victoria

JUBILEE ODE, A.D. 1897


 

 WITH thunder of cannon and far-off roll of drum,
And martial music blaring forth her glory,
’Mid miles of thronging millions down each street
Where all the earth is bound in one heart-beat
The world’s great Empire’s greatest Queen doth come,
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Borne on one mighty, rocking earthquake voice
Wherein all peoples of wide earth rejoice—
She comes, she comes, to beat of martial drums,
And pageants blazoning England’s ancient story;
The good, gray Queen, whose majesty and worth
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Have lent their radiance to remotest earth;
While the splendor and might and power of her mighty empire bound her;
And the serried millions, mad with joy, are near her,
All to love her, none to fear her,
But nearer far than power, than splendor dearer,
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The surging love of her loved people round her.
She comes, she comes, encircled by her people,
While praise to Heaven peals out from tower and steeple,
Into the great cathedral, hushed and dim,
With thankful heart and humble queenly head
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Over the sleep of England’s mighty dead,
To render up her heart’s best thoughts to Him
The King of Kings—’mid hush of priestly tread,
And gloried anthem’s solemn pealing hymn. 

The mighty millions, awed, now bow the head,
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Thank Heaven for her simple, noble life,
Earth’s queenliest empress, mother, daughter, wife!
Thank Heaven for all she held her dearest own!
Forgiveness for the weakness she hath known!
Blessings on her wise old widowed head,
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For what her life is now, and what her life hath been,
Noble mother, wife and Queen!
 
Let the mighty organs roll, and the mighty throng disperse!
She is ours, and we are hers,
And both are Britain’s. Both to Britain’s God
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Lift up the heart-felt praise for the might of splendid days,
For the glory that hath been.
Let the cannon thunder out, and the miles of voices shout—Victoria!
Let the bells peal out afar, till the rocket tells the star,
And the ocean shouts its pæan to the thunder-answering bar;
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England’s glory, Britain’s pride,Revered of half a world beside,
O good gray Queen, Victoria!
 
Daughter of monarchs, mother of kings;
All her sorrows we have shared,
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All her triumphs they are ours.
Kind Heaven, that virtue still endowers,
Be with her, may her path be flowers;
Be with her, may her days be spared,
Death aloof with shadowing wings,
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Unto nature’s latest hours!
Daughter of monarchs, mother of kings,
O good gray Queen, Victoria!
 
Let all feuds of faction die,
Let the blaring party bugles cease to blow,
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Let insincere and base detraction lie,
With sore defeat and bitterness, her carping sisters, low,
In this one supremest hour,
Day of Britain’s ancient power,
Day of all her golden dower,
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Of victory-towering centuries, tower on tower.
Let all our hatreds be forgot,
All bitterness be swept away,
Remembering only the glory of our lot
In this century-honoring day!
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Celt and Scot and Saxon, let us only know,
A mighty Queen comes to her own at last,
Her people’s love and reverence—as the glow
Of some splendid western heaven,
Deepening into richer even,
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Ere it purples to the vast.
 
Past the mailèd gates of fears,
The hooded menace of the years,
Where rang the iron voices rolling on her ears,
Of royal dreams the requiem and pall,
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And awful fates of thrones foredoomed to fall;
Our aged Queen, on this glad day she stands
Amid the throbbings of her land’s great love,
Firm in her rule, her faith in God above,
Earth’s golden keys of happiness in her hands.
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O splendid life of Britain’s splendid days!

O noble soul, above all blame or praise!
O fame that will outlast our little fame!
O long-enduring honor greater than time or death!
O name that will outlive even that immortal name,

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England’s more ancient glory, the great Elizabeth! 

And we, thy loyal subjects far away,
In these new lands that own thy sceptre’s sway,
Betwixt thy Royal Isle and far Cathay—
Across the thunder of western foam,

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O good gray Queen, our hearts go home, go home,
To thine and thee!
We are thine own while empires rise and wane,
We are thine own for blessing or for bane,
And, come the shock of thundering war again,
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For death or victory!
 
Not that we hate our brothers to the south,
They are our fellows in the speech of mouth,
They are our wedded kindred, our own blood,
The same world-evils we and they withstood,
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Our aims are theirs, one common future good—
Not that we hate them, but that there doth lie
Within our hearts a golden fealty
To Britain, Britain, Britain, till the world doth die.
 
And him we send thee as our greatest son,
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The people’s choice, to whose firm hand is given
The welfare of our country under heaven;
No truer son hast thou in all thy coasts,
No wiser, kindlier, stronger, Britain boasts;
Our knightly leader, Norman in his blood,
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But truest Briton in heart and speech and mind,
Belovèd well of all his fellow-kind,
In statesmanship our nation’s highest mood,
Our silver-tongued and golden-hearted one,
In every inch and every thought a man,
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Our noblest type, ideal Canadian!
Receive him ’mid those, greatest, thou dost own,
Thy mighty empire-builders, bastioning round thy throne.
 
O England’s latest, greatest Queen,
Greatness more great than all her greatness that hath been,
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Under thy sceptre the outmost continents hang,
And trackless oceans thunder out their surges.
These are thy realms. Never in earth’s old story
Hath queen of earthly realm owned such resplendent glory.
Not golden Homer such wondrous kingdoms sang.
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Round earth’s wide girdle thy mighty empire verges,
Out-splendoring all prophecy of olden days;
Thou, latest and greatest on that throne whose base
Withstood the shock of centuries, still withstands
The lowering hate of Europe’s iron bands;
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In thy true keeping shall that sceptre be
A golden wand of happiness to the free
Who call thee Queen from outmost sea to sea.
That throne to them a mighty lighthouse tower,
A truth-compelling majesty of light,
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Blinding the mists of ignorance and night,
Where round its base throughout the centuries’ flight,
Thunder in vain earth’s hosts upon its iron power.