Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
283. Rule, Britannia
James Thomson (1700–1748)
  WHEN Britain first at Heaven’s command
    Arose from out the azure main,
  This was the charter of her land,
    And guardian angels sung the strain:
Rule, Britannia! Britannia rules the waves!        5
      Britons never shall be slaves.
  The nations not so blest as thee
  Must in their turn to tyrants fall,
  Whilst thou shalt flourish great and free
  The dread and envy of them all.        10
  Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
  More dreadful from each foreign stroke:
  As the loud blast that tears the skies
  Serves but to root thy native oak.
  Thee haughty tyrants ne’er shall tame;        15
  All their attempts to bend thee down
  Will but arouse thy generous flame,
  And work their woe and thy renown.
  To thee belongs the rural reign;
  Thy cities shall with commerce shine;        20
  All thine shall be the subject main,
  And every shore it circles thine!
  The Muses, still with Freedom found,
    Shall to thy happy coast repair;
  Blest Isle, with matchless beauty crown’d        25
    And manly hearts to guard the fair:—
Rule, Britannia! Britannia rules the waves!
      Britons never shall be slaves!


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