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Poems Every Child Should Know by  Mary E. Burt


 

 

TO AMERICA

"To America," included by permission of the Poet Laureate, is a good poem and a great poem. It is a keen thrust at the common practice of teaching American children to hate the English of these days on account of the actions of a silly old king dead a hundred years. Alfred Austin deserves great credit for this poem.

What is the voice I hear

On the winds of the western sea?

Sentinel, listen from out Cape Clear

And say what the voice may be.

'Tis a proud free people calling loud to a people proud and free.


And it says to them: "Kinsmen, hail!

We severed have been too long.

Now let us have done with a worn-out tale—

The tale of an ancient wrong—

[336]

And our friendship last long as our love doth and be stronger than death is strong."


Answer them, sons of the self-same race,

And blood of the self-same clan;

Let us speak with each other face to face

And answer as man to man,

And loyally love and trust each other as none but free men can.


Now fling them out to the breeze,

Shamrock, Thistle, and Rose,

And the Star-spangled Banner unfurl with these—

A message to friends and foes

Wherever the sails of peace are seen and wherever the war-wind blows—


A message to bond and thrall to wake,

For wherever we come, we twain,

The throne of the tyrant shall rock and quake,

And his menace be void and vain;

For you are lords of a strong land and we are lords of the main.


Yes, this is the voice of the bluff March gale;

We severed have been too long,

But now we have done with a worn-out tale—

The tale of an ancient wrong—

And our friendship last long as love doth last and stronger than death is strong.


ALFRED AUSTIN.


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