The Secret Key and Other Verses


George Essex Evans

PRINCE of the race whose Empire is the Sea,
                    We welcome thee!
Thy ensign floats above our harbour-mouth.
                    A fairy’s hand
Has decked the great Queen City of the South.
By arch and roof, in bannered street and stand,
                    The vast crowd waits.
The cannon thunder greeting from the strand.
    But in our hearts a deeper note vibrates—
The loving welcome of a loyal land.

’Tis the same race that from the iron North
                    Went faring forth,
Flying the flag of England at the fore;
                    Nor saw again
The masted city, with its ceaseless roar,
The flower-flecked meadow and the leafy lane,
                    The steepled hill,
Or ivied ruin rising from the plain,
    But for a sign that they remembered still,
Built Greater Britains over all the main.

For thee, and her who comes with thee to grace
                    Our land and race,
Five million hearts beat with a welcome leal,
                    North, South and West.
Not in a day was built this Commonweal!
Slow, with our lives, we built it; nor confes’t
                    How stern our fears,
Thro’ drought and flood, in fever and unrest.
    Its tale: the courage of laborious years.
And for a seal: the life-blood of our best.

Is she not fair whose morning thrills the East?
                    Youngest, not least,
Of all those Britains that one isle has sown,
                    One faith impearled
In world-wide union. We can hold our own—
’Gainst us in vain all envious shafts are hurled
                    If still we be
The Sons of Freedom, ’neath one flag unfurled,
    Co-heirs of Fame and Wardens of the Sea,
One tongue, one race, one heart before the world!

The Secret Key and Other Verses - Contents

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