James Thomson

(11 September 1700 – 27 August 1748 / Ednam in Roxburghshire, Scotland)

Rule Britannia Poem by James Thomson


When Britain first, at Heaven's command,
Arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sung this strain:
"Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
Britons never will be slaves."

The nations, not so blest as thee,
Must, in their turns, to tyrants fall:
While thou shalt flourish great and free,
The dread and envy of them all.
"Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
Britons never will be slaves."

Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
More dreadful, from each foreign stroke:
As the loud blast that tears the skies,
Serves but to root thy native oak.
"Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
Britons never will be slaves."

Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame:
All their attempts to bend thee down,
Will but arouse thy generous flame;
But work their woe, and thy renown.
"Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
Britons never will be slaves."

To thee belongs the rural reign;
Thy cities shall with commerce shine:
All thine shall be the subject main,
And every shore it circles thine.
"Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
Britons never will be slaves."

The Muses, still with freedom found,
Shall to thy happy coast repair:
Blest isle! with matchless beauty crown'd,
And manly hearts to guard the fair.
"Rule, Britannia, rule the waves;
Britons never will be slaves."

Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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