Lake Lyrics and Other Poems

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

ODE. CANADA TO GREAT BRITAIN

(1887.)


 

Great mother of nations, whose hand
    Holds half the world’s sway in its grasp;
With commerce’s shimmering band
    Encircling all earth in thy clasp.

Thou breaker of fetters and thralls,

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    Thou maker of wars and of peace;
The mighty sea waves for thy walls,
    The people of earth thine increase.

The shock of the ages unfelt,
    Thou brood of the Saxon and Dane;

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Unmoved while old monarchies melt,
    Still strong while the centuries wane.

From the land of the north and the west,
    From the land of the maple and pine;
O’er Atlantic’s broad billowy breast,

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    To the tribute of song, I add mine.

To the surging of voice and of heart,
    Over mountain, plain, ocean and sea;
Where half the wide earth hath her part,
    In rendering of tribute to thee.

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Outblown by each favoring wind,
    Thy war-bristling armaments toss;
Thou guardian of either far Ind.,
    Defender of Crescent and Cross.

Beneath the broad wing of thy sway,

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    All creeds, tongues and nations keep tryst;
Greece, Araby, Egypt, Cathay,
     Mohammed, Brahm, Budda, and CHRIST.

Thou wielder of strength tested long,
    Thou builder of days yet to be;

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The strong and the weak and the strong,
    The future and past, meet in thee.

Not built was thy power in a day,
    Not a sudden upheaval thy might;
But slowly, like dawn’s brightening ray,

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    It grew from the centuries’ night.

But thou, beloved, honored and great,
    Who hast so much good in thy power;
Earth’s Lazarus lies at thy gate,
    O pass him not by; ’tis thine hour!

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With the torch of the age in thy hands,
    God given—then be it Christ-spent;
From all continents, nations, all lands,
    Are truth-seeking eyes on thee bent.

Go give them the light that they want,

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    Go teach them what God hath taught thee:
Not lies, hatred, meanness, and cant,
    But the knowledge that maketh all free.

And more, by the gifts of thy past,
    By thine unswerving trust in thy God;

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To the winds all old tyrannies cast,
    Lay down the old sceptre of blood.

Take up the new sceptre of peace,
    Show mightier deeds can be done,
In wisdom, and battles surcease.

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    Than Agincourt, Waterloo won.

Old bitterness, sorrow and wrong,
     The centuries’ murmur and groan;
Cannot be forgot, like a song,
    In the smoke of a cannon out-blown.

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Show the dark age of serfdom is past,
    Show the better, the stronger, the true
Where freedom bright halo will cast
    On old truths that forever are new.

Where sciences’ blindlings may grope,

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    In the gleam of faith’s uprisen sun;
Where a common sweet freedom and hope,
    Will weld all thy peoples in one.