Sagas of Vaster Britain: Poems of the Race, the Empire and the Divinity of Man

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

THE CHILDREN


 

OUT of the vasts of the world,
    From the beat of the alien drum,
Back from the wanderings far
    Do the ancient children come.

Back from the isles of the East,

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    Back from the sunset wall:
Calling Mother, soul of our soul,
    Do the ancient children call.

Back from the visions of toiling,
    Out from the dreams of gold,

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From the endless striving and yearning
    The children return to the fold.

Back from the alien roads,
    Of ignis fatuus gleam,
Back to the mother, back to the home,

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    Do the hearts of the children dream.

There is cry that the race is sinking,
    Breed of the Albion isle,
That the strong arm sinks, that the sinew shrinks
    And the lie and the cheat beguile;

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But we are your children, Mother,
    We at your breasts have fed,
We will not leave you, life of our life,
    Dead of our olden dead.

Gather, as war-clouds gather,

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    Hordes of the world afar,
We are the deathless sons of the race,
    Stars of the olden star.

Sons of the ancient sunrise,
    Children of granite and dew:

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We yet will drink of the dreams on your brink,
    Hills of the heather blue.

Reckon thy dead, O Albion,
    Reckon thy latest blood,
Sons of the strong, where the sunlight long

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    Floods the round world in its flood:

Reckon on us, O Albion,
    Let the world’s jackals but spring,
We will be yours while earth endures,
    While earth and the earth-roots cling.

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Strong is the flag, O Children,
    Whereunder your breed are born,
Strong is the love of the dwelling-place,
    And sweet is the homelight’s morn:

But stronger far yet is the race-tie,

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    The kinships that kindle and bind,
And evermore true to the breed and the thew
    Are the sons of the world-old kind.

Yea, back to the ancient mother
    The earth-wide children yearn,

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Who fared to achieve, to dream, to glean,
    To wrestle, to build, to learn.

But as ashes the vast achievement,
    And weary the hearts that pray,
When the old blood dreams and the old love gleams

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    In the hearts of the Far-away.

Back ’mid the world’s wide seething,
    Its witch-pot brew that boils:
Back from the buying and selling of earth
    From the chaos of battles and toils.

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The hearts of the far-swept children
    To the ancient mother turn.
When the day breaks, when the hour comes,
    The world will waken and learn.

Not the one flag, not the two flags,

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    But the blood that wakens and stirs:
The world may claim them, the world may name them,
    But the hearts of the race are Hers.