Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
By Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts (1860–1943)
O CHILD of nations, giant-limbed,
  Who stand’st among the nations now,
Unheeded, unadorned, unhymned,
  With unanointed brow,—
How long the ignoble sloth, how long        5
  The trust in greatness not thine own?
Surely the lion’s brood is strong
  To front the world alone!
How long the indolence, ere thou dare
  Achieve thy destiny, seize thy fame—        10
Ere our proud eyes behold thee bear
  A nation’s franchise, nation’s name?
The Saxon force, the Celtic fire,
  These are thy Manhood’s heritage!
Why rest with babes and slaves? Seek higher        15
  The place of race and age.
I see to every wind unfurled
  The flag that bears the Maple-Wreath;
Thy swift keels furrow round the world
  Its blood-red folds beneath;        20
Thy swift keels cleave the furthest seas;
  Thy white sails swell with alien gales;
To stream on each remotest breeze
  The black smoke of thy pipes exhales.
O Falterer, let thy past convince        25
  Thy future,—all the growth, the gain,
The fame since Cartier knew thee, since
  Thy shores beheld Champlain!
Montcalm and Wolfe! Wolfe and Montcalm!
  Quebec, thy storied citadel        30
Attest in burning song and psalm
  How here thy heroes fell!
O thou that bor’st the battle’s brunt
  At Queenston and at Lundy’s Lane,
On whose scant ranks but iron front        35
  The battle broke in vain!
Whose was the danger, whose the day,
  From whose triumphant throats the cheers,
At Chrysler’s Farm, at Chateauguay,
  Storming like clarion-bursts our ears?        40
On soft Pacific slopes, beside
  Strange floods that Northward rave and fall,
Where chafes Acadia’s chainless tide,
  Thy sons await thy call.
They await; but some in exile, some        45
  With strangers housed, in stranger lands.
And some Canadian lips are dumb
  Beneath Egyptian sands.
O mystic Nile! Thy secret yields
  Before us; thy most ancient dreams        50
Are mixed with far Canadian fields
  And murmur of Canadian streams.
But thou, my Country, dream not thou!
  Wake, and behold how night is done;
How on thy breast, and o’er thy brow,        55
  Bursts the uprising Sun!

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