THE MANY-MANSIONED HOUSE
AND OTHER POEMS


By
EDWARD WILLIAM THOMSON




 

A CANADIAN REPLY

(TO ONE WHO WOULD REFUSE LIBERTY TO THE BOERS)



IF ancient England nobly sing,
    We hearken to the song.
Her words ten million echoes bring
    To urge the strain along;
It rallies farm and market-square,

5

    If so the note be true,—
But what if every verse declare
    But one inspired Yahoo?

Fifty thousand horse and foot
    Trail back from Table Bay

10

In shame to recollect the toot
    To which they sailed away;
Five times fifty thousand more
    The fight could barely save,
With aid from every British shore

15

    To quell the burgher brave.

Through forests dim, o’er myriad lakes,
    Where sea-wide prairies swell,
It seemed our hearts were like to break;
    What time the Shame befell

20

Of “I regret I must report
    Surrendering the Nek,”
And “Guns all captured,” “No support,”
    Death dogging kop and trek.

From stroke of axe, from herded ranch,

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    From league-long furrows black,
We sent our children stark and staunch
    To tread the battle track;
All bound by grace on England’s part
    To help her hoe the row, [Page 105]

30

But never hatred in their heart
    Against the hero foe.

Majuba Hill!  Oh, yes, we grieve
    Full sorely at the name,
But what hyena can conceive

35

    We would revenge the blame?
Ye braves who stormed a mountain crest
    To fight with five to one,
By God, praise thunders in the breast
    To think such deed was done!

40


And is it England’s voice declares
    That yielded men whose souls
Confronted all that valor dares
    Must lack the freeman’s polls?
Must lack the balm that soothed away

45

    Canadian memories sore,
And drew to England’s battle day
    As friends the foes of yore?

Now bear the strain to London town,
    Oh, winds of England’s main,

50

And tell the heirs of old renown
    We lilt their old refrain:
“Full measure heaped and running o’er
    Of every freeman’s right
Subdues the heart of heroes more

55

    Than all the storms of fight.” [Page 106]