LESSON 29 Triumphs of the English language
Now gather all our Saxon bards, let harps and hearts be strung,
To celebrate the triumphs of our own good Saxon tongue;
For stronger far than hosts that march with battle-flags unfurled,
It goes with Freedom, Thought, and Truth, to rouse and rule the world.
Stout Albion(1) learns its household lays on every surf-worn shore,
And Scotland hears its echoing far as Orkney's breakers roar—
From Jura's(2) crags and Mona's(3) hills it floats on every gale,
And warms with eloquence and song the homes of Innisfail.(4)
On many a wide and swarming deck it scales the rough wave's crest,
Seeking its peerless heritage—the fresh and fruitful West:
It climbs New England's(5) rocky steeps as victor mounts a throne;
Niagara knows and greets the voice, still mightier than its own.
It spreads where Winter piles deep snows on bleak Canadian plains,
And where on Essequibo's(6) banks eternal Summer reigns:
It glads Acadia's(7) misty coasts, Jamaica's glowing isle,
And bides where, gay with early flowers, green Texan prairies(8) smile:
It tracks the loud swift Oregon,(9) through sunset valleys rolled,
And soars where Californian brooks wash down their sands of gold.
It sounds in Borneo's(10) camphor groves, on seas of fierce Malay,
In fields that curb old Ganges' flood, and towers of proud Bombay:
It wakes up Aden's(11) flashing eyes, dusk brows, and swarthy limbs;
The dark Liberian(12) soothes her child with English cradle hymns.
Tasmania's(13) maids are wooed and won in gentle Saxon speech;
Australian boys read Crusoe's life(14) by Sydney's sheltered beach;
It dwells where Afric's southmost capes meet oceans broad and blue,
And Nieuveld's(15) rugged mountains gird the wide and waste karroo.(16)
It kindles realms so far apart, that, while its praise you sing,
These may be clad with Autumn's fruits, and those with flowers of Spring;
It quickens lands whose meteor lights flame in an Arctic sky,
And lands for which the Southern Cross(17) hangs its orbëd fires on high.
It goes with all that prophets told, and righteous kings desired,—
With all that great apostles taught, and glorious Greeks admired,—
With Shakespeare's(18) deep and wondrous verse, and Milton's(19) loftier mind,—
With Alfred's(20) laws, and Newton's(21) lore,—to cheer and bless mankind.
Mark, as it spreads, how deserts bloom, and error flies away,
As vanishes the mist of night before the star of day!
But grand as are the victories whose monuments we see,
Three are but as the dawn, which speaks of noontide yet to be
Take heed, then, heirs of Saxon fame! take heed,nor once disgrace,
With deadly pen or spoiling sword, our noble tongue and race.
Go forth prepared in every clime to love and help each other,
And judge that they who counsel strife would bid you smite—a brother.
Go forth, and jointly speed the time, by good men prayed for long,
When Christian States, grown just and wise, will scorn revenge and wrong;
When Earth's oppressed and savage tribes shall cease to pine or roam,
All taught to prize these English words—Faith, Freedom, Heaven, and Home.
—J. G. Lyons