Cicely Fox Smith
England In China: 1897-98 - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
Grey gloom the storm-clouds in the Orient far,
Foreshadowing dark and anxious hours to be,
Where Britain's rivals to her commerce bar
The golden portals of the Eastern Sea.
Now in the hour of her trial be her mien
Brave and serene and calm - worthy an Ocean Queen.
Reason prevails not with our envious foe;
They hate to think 'tis justice that we speak;
Yet tell it wide, that all the world may know
No base monopoly is this we seek,
But all the myriad ports of China thrown
Open to all the world - not yours our ours alone.
Ay, howl your fill - our day will come ere long,
The Lion watches from his island throne
Prepar'd to stand in arms against the wrong;
Not against you, save to defend his own.
Then fling yon harbours wide to all the world,
Or the mad blast of war across the globe be hurl'd.
If reason serve not, then let Force prevail;
War's dire arbitrament the right will show.
Our guns are heard where meek-ey'd Peace doth
And, if the foes of England will it so,
Speak, cannon, tell them in your echoing roar,
We fight as well to-day as e'er we fought of yore.
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