George Edward Woodberry: At Gibraltar

At Gibraltar

George Edward Woodberry


England, I stand on thy imperial ground, Not all a stranger; as thy bugles blow, I feel within my blood old battles flow — The blood whose ancient founts in thee are found Still surging dark against the Christian bound Wide Islam presses; well its peoples know Thy heights that watch them wandering below; I think how Lucknow heard their gathering sound. I turn, and meet the cruel, turbaned face. England, 't is sweet to be so much thy son! I feel the conqueror in my blood and race; Last night Trafalgar awed me, and to-day Gibraltar wakened; hark, thy evening gun Startles the desert over Africa!


Thou art the rock of empire, set mid-seas Between the East and West, that God has built; Advance thy Roman borders where thou wilt, While run thy armies true with His decrees. Law, justice, liberty — great gifts are these; Watch that they spread where English blood is spilt, Lest, mixed and sullied with his country's guilt, The soldier's life-stream flow, and Heaven displease! Two swords there are:  one naked, apt to smite, Thy blade of war; and, battle-storied, one Rejoices in the sheath, and hides from light. American I am; would wars were done! Now westward, look, my country bids good-night — Peace to the world from ports without a gun!