William Ernest Henley

(1849 - 1902 / Gloucester / England)

A New Song to an Old Tune


SONS of Shannon, Tamar, Trent,
Men of the Lothians, Men of Kent,
Essex, Wessex, shore and shire,
Mates of the net, the mine, the fire,
Lads of the wheel and desk and loom,
Noble and trader, squire and groom,
Come where the bugles of England play,
'Over the hills and far away!'

Southern Cross and Polar Star --
Here are the Britons bred afar;
Serry, O serry them, fierce and keen,
Under the flag of the Empress-Queen;
Shoulder to shoulder down the track,
Where, to the unretreating Jack,
The victor bugles of England play,
'Over the hills and far away!'

What if the best of our wages be
An empty sleeve, a stiff-set knee,
A crutch for the rest of life -- who cares,
So long as the One Flag floats and dares?
So long as the One Race dares and grows?
Death -- what is death but God's own rose?
Let but the bugles of England play,
'Over the hills and far away!'

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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