The Secret Key and Other Verses

The Crown of Empire

George Essex Evans

FREE is the wind that lashes into foam
The fortress waves that gird the Sea-King’s home
And free the war-worn Flag that is our fame
That fear, nor treason, nor the Storm-God’s might,
Nor the leagued banners of the World can shame
When Britain arms for Honour and the Right.
And free the hearts that on this golden day
Bear willing witness to the Sea-King’s sway:
From world-wide realms washed by the world-wide sea
They turn, O Throne of Freedom, unto Thee.

Homeward they turn from many a lonely place,
Maker of Nations, Mother of the Race,
Homeward to Thee, where, in this solemn hour
Of mightiest Empire, Thou hast called once more
A Royal Son to wield Imperial power
And wear the crown that Saxon Alfred wore—
Sceptre and orb that a great Queen laid down,
Lustrous with wisdom, foremost in renown,
Whilst o’er them shone, all glittering gems above,
The Star of Duty and the Pearl of Love.

Europe is here, and Asia: and the West
Lifts ’mid the throng its dauntless Eagle’s crest.
Lo! They are gathered—prince and peer and lord,
And great ambassadors of mighty States,
And utmost Nations—not with naked sword,
But to do Britain honour in her gates.
The splendour of this large, historic hour,
This dazzling pageant of Imperial power,
Surrounds a King whose proudest boast shall be
The hearts that hail him Emperor of the Free.

O Sire August, within these Abbey walls
To thee the sacred dust of Britain calls
To rule the realm that shook the strength of Spain,
And struck th’ accursèd fetter from the slave—
That tore from Europe’s neck the Despot’s chain,
And, for a pledge of Freedom, o’er the wave
Has set its Flag forever—not alone—
The fairest face that ever graced a throne,
Queen of our Hearts, is with Thee as we sing:—
“An Empire’s love is their’s: God Save the King!”

Unbar your ocean-guarded gates, make wide
Your streets, Imperial City of our Pride!
Hark, with the voice of millions, rolling deep,
The world salutes thee on this Royal morn.
Strong as thine island-rock when surges sweep
Thy throne stands steadfast; round it there is born
The silent vow that prince and peasant make
Ere they go down to death for Freedom’s sake,
And, dying, know sons of their sons will be
As swift to guard the Sceptre of the Sea.

O Pillars of an Empire dwarfing Rome,
From the four corners of the world you come.
The strong Sea-Lion calls around his throne
His ancient heirs, his war-worn younger sons.
Bring Heath and Vine from hills of Southern stone.
And Myrtle, where the twining rata runs,—
Wreaths from our Empire-Garden, where, between
The purple Thistle and the Shamrock green,
The snow-white Lotus by the Maple shows,
The yellow Wattle by the English Rose.

This is a Southern Song blown oversea
From mighty States now linked in unity,—
From that far island continent that lies
Gigantic on the waters, throned, apart,
Robed with the splendour of Australian skies—
First to draw sword, when, with a single heart,
From every frontier line of Empire rose
New Britains armed to meet Britannia’s foes,
Whose voices thunder, as the joy-bells ring
Loud from ten thousand spires: “God Save the King!”

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