Cicely Fox Smith
To Arms - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
'To Arms!' the maddening bugles call;
Make ready-ready for the fray.
Be true to Britain, one and all,
We fight for life or death to-day.
Who speaks to Britain's sons of shame?
Nay, war, if war must be, we wage
For England's name, and England's fame,
And England's royal heritage!
Is it forgotten with the years,
That lesson learnt with shame and woe,
With dark defeat and bitter tears,
When Nelson conquered, long ago?
the storm that looms above today
Shall break in thunders mightier far;
The flag that holds the seas in sway
Floats o'er a later Trafalgar!
Form as thou standest Ocean Queen,
Resistless on thy inviolate strand,
Far o'er the watching world are seen
The gleaming of thy half-drawn brand.
High o'er the shrine of Britain's fame
Floats thy broad banner wide unfurled;
The flag that knows no stain of shame,
The victor-flag of half the world!
The thunder of thy battle-line
Shall echoing sound from deep to deep,
For, challenged o'er the Channel brine,
Thy couchant lion wakes from sleep.
Go forth against thy vaunting foe;
Go forth - exulting in thy might;
And let the voice of battle show
That right is might and might is right!
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