Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

Her Majesty's Forces - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

To-day, as when the musket-rattle
O'er Belgian lowlands spoke,
And 'mid the rush and roar of battle
The famed Grand Army broke,
Should the dense storm-cloud, dark with omen,
Fling forth its freight of war,
Gladly against the marshaled foemen
Would Britons march once more.

Whether thro' parching deserts straining,
Or stagnant, steaming fen,
They do their duty uncomplaining,
They live, they die like men.
Tho' nameless in our story's pages,
In glorious graves they lie,
Attesting unto all the ages
How Britons dare and die.

Outward from every harbour wending
Go our proud navies forth,
Strongly on all the seas defending
The Island of the North.
Outward o-er every ocean faring,
Unchecked, they go their ways;
Steadfast in purpose, swift in daring,
As e'er in bygone days.

Whether from strong bows staunchly flinging
The crash of plunging seas,
Or idly at the anchor swinging,
Kissed by a soft south breeze;
Whether 'mid lifeless desolation,
Or thronging harbour-mart,
Right bravely for the Empress-nation
They play their mighty part.

When o'er the wakened nations ringing,
The bugles blare once more,
And foreign foes defiance flinging,
Assail our English shore,
Silent and steadfast, calm and steady,
To meet the foemen then,
Will stand, for all invaders ready,
The soldier-citizen.

E'en now, perchance, the storm is nearing,
E'en now half-drawn the blade;
But it shall find us all unfearing,
Prepared and unafraid.
Each true to his appointed station,
Shoulder to shoulder stand,
The forces of a mighty nation,
A firm, united land.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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