by Alfred Austin
Welcome, right welcome home, to these blest Isles,
Where, unforgotten, loved Victoria sleeps,
But now with happy pride your Father smiles,
Your Mother weeps.
You went as came the swallow, homeward draw
Now it hath winged its way to winters green;
But never swallow or wandering sea-bird saw
What You have seen.
For You have circled the earth with pinions fleet,
The seasons through, and everywhere a throng
Of glowing hearts your coming trooped to greet
With flowers and song.
Over the unchanging sea eight changeful moons
Have moved from shield to sickle, seed to sheaves,
And twice a hundred dawns, a hundred noons,
A hundred eves,
Waned to their slumber in the star-lit night,
And ever from land or lake, from wave or crag,
From fixed or floating fort, You had in sight
The British Flag.
And wider, further, onward round the world,
Scouring the field or furrowing the sea,
You found that Emblem, which, where'er unfurled,
Floats o'er the Free:
So that on man, and man's laborious hand,
Nor manacle nor hindrance shall be laid,
But mind with mind, and strand with generous strand,
Contend and trade.
And, though the shade of treasonable strife
Falls on our homes and theirs, You, wandering, saw,
Young Commonwealths You found, surging with life,
Yet ruled by Law:
Whose blood, infused in ours in War's emprise,
To vindicate one Sceptre, sword, and tongue,-
As ours perchance may help to keep them wise,-
Hath made us young.
Fountain of Youth England in mellower years
Hath found and drained, so that She ne'er need know
What Nature feels when Autumn stacks and seres,
Or Yule-gusts blow.
You sailed from us to them, from them to us,
Love at the prow and wisdom at the helm,
August Ambassadors, who strengthen thus
Her Rule and Realm.
Round You to-day a People stand arrayed,
That fain with Peace two wedded worlds would dower,
Therefore rejoicing mightier hath been made
Last updated January 14, 2019