Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
Sonnets. America
By Sydney Dobell (1824–1874)
MEN say, Columbia, we shall hear thy guns.
But in what tongue shall be thy battle-cry?
Not that our sires did love in years gone by,
When all the Pilgrim Fathers were little sons
In merry homes of England? Back, and see        5
Thy satchell’d ancestor! Behold, he runs
To mine, and, clasp’d, they tread the equal lea
To the same village-school, where side by side
They spell ‘Our Father’. Hard by, the twin-pride
Of that grey hall whose ancient oriel gleams        10
Thro’ yon baronial pines, with looks of light
Our sister-mothers sit beneath one tree.
Meanwhile our Shakespeare wanders past and dreams
His Helena and Hermia. Shall we fight?
NOR force nor fraud shall sunder us! O ye
Who north or south, on east or western land,
Native to noble sounds, say truth for truth,
Freedom for freedom, love for love, and God
For God; Oh ye who in eternal youth
Speak with a living and creative flood        20
This universal English, and do stand
Its breathing book; live worthy of that grand
Heroic utterance—parted, yet a whole,
Far, yet unsever’d,—children brave and free
Of the great Mother-tongue, and ye shall be        25
Lords of an Empire wide as Shakespeare’s soul,
Sublime as Milton’s immemorial theme,
And rich as Chaucer’s speech, and fair as Spenser’s dream.

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