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Why England Is Conservative
Because of our dear Mother, the fair Past, On whom twin Hope and Memory safely lean, And from whose fostering wisdom none shall wean Their love and faith, while love and faith shall last: Mother of happy homes and Empire vast, Of hamlets meek, and many a proud demesne, Blue spires of cottage smoke 'mong woodlands green, And comely altars where no stone is cast. And shall we barter these for gaping Throne, Dismantled towers, mean plots without a tree, A herd of hinds too equal to be free, Greedy of other's, jealous of their own, And, where sweet Order now breathes cadenced tone, Envy, and hate, and all uncharity? Banish the fear! 'Twere infamy to yield To folly what to force had been denied, Or in the Senate quail before the tide We should have stemmed and routed in the field. What though no more we brandish sword and shield, Reason's keen blade is ready at our side, And manly brains, in wisdom panoplied, Can foil the shafts that treacherous sophists wield. The spirit of our fathers is not quelled. With weapons valid even as those they bore, Domain, Throne, Altar, still may be upheld, So we disdain, as they disdained of yore, The foreign froth that foams against our shore, Only by its white cliffs to be repelled! Therefore, chime sweet and safely, village bells, And, rustic chancels, woo to reverent prayer, And, wise and simple, to the porch repair Round which Death, slumbering, dreamlike heaves and swells. Let hound and horn in wintry woods and dells Make jocund music though the boughs be bare, And whistling yokel guide his gleaming share Hard by the homes where gentle lordship dwells. Therefore sit high enthroned on every hill, Authority! and loved in every vale; Nor, old Tradition, falter in the tale Of lowly valour led by lofty will: And, though the throats of envy rage and rail, Be fair proud England proud fair England still!
Alfred Austin's other poems:
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