Alfred Austin

(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

All Hail To The Czar! - Poem by Alfred Austin

All hail to the Czar! By the fringe of the foam
That thunders, untamed, around Albion's shore,
See multitudes throng, dense as sea-birds whose home
Is betwixt the deaf rocks and the ocean's mad roar;
And across the ridged waters stand straining their eyes
For a glimpse of the Eagle that comes from afar:
Lo! it swoops towards the beach, and they greet it with cries
That silence the billows-``All hail to the Czar!''

All hail to the Czar! England's noblest and best,
Her oldest, her newest, her proudest are there,
And they vie in obeisance before the great guest,
For the prize of his nod, for the alms of his stare.
To the seat of their Empire they draw him along,
Where the Palace flies open to welcome his car,
And Prince, Press, and People, with leader and song,
Ring the change on the paean-``All hail to the Czar!''

All hail to the Czar! the bold Monarch who shook
From the heart of the Lion its insolent lust,
That once from the strongest no outrage would brook,
Till it crouched at his feet, till it crawled in the dust!
Who the laurels bequeathed to us tore from our brow,
Who extinguished our fame that once shone like a star,
Made our rulers to tremble, our heralds to bow,
And our bosoms to mock us-``All hail to the Czar!''

All hail to the Czar! O yes! show him your ships,
Had your courage not failed, he had seen before now,
As they dally at anchor, the gag on their lips,
And the peace-loving holiday trim on their prow!
Yes! show him your army, that mighty array
He so rashly defied when he ventured to mar
The last work of its hands, and remind it to say,
But with bayonets inverted-``All hail to the Czar!''

All hail to the Czar! As ye revel and feast,
I marvel the ghosts of the bootlessly slain
Do not come from their cold lonely graves in the East,
From the hillside that looks o'er the desolate main,
Which they perished to save, ye surrender, to live,
To the man ye now slaver, all base as ye are!
Do not stalk through the banquet-hall, pallid, and give
The gay toast ere ye drink it-``All hail to the Czar!''

All hail to the Czar! For his daughter he gave,
Like Atrides of old, without shrinking or qualm,
Though not that the white ships might move o'er the wave,
But that ours still might ride in immovable calm!
What Religion could once, now can Statecraft persuade;
And if ye would devote to the furies of war
Half as freely your sons as he gave up his maid,
Without shame might ye shout then-``All hail to the Czar!''

All hail to the Czar! Are ye then sunk so low,
O ye sons of the once fearless masters of earth!
That ye pour out the wine for an insolent foe,
That in depths of dishonour ye simulate mirth?
That, like unto mongrel hounds beaten and cowed,
Ye, crouched, lick alternately smiter and scar?-
Oh, rather my country lay deaf in its shroud,
Than had lived to hear silent-``All hail to the Czar!''


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010



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