The Island

A song for England?
Nay, what is a song for England?

Our hearts go by green-cliffed Kinsale
Among the gulls' white wings,
Or where, on Kentish forelands pale
The lighthouse beacon swings:
Our hearts go up the Mersey's tide,
Come in on Suffolk foam —
The blood that will not be denied
Moves fast, and calls us home!

Our hearts now walk a secret round
On many a Cotswold hill,
For we are mixed of island ground,
The island draws us still:
Our hearts may pace a windy turn
Where Sussex downs are high,
Or watch the lights of London burn,
A bonfire in the sky!

What is the virtue of that soil
That flings her strength so wide?
Her ancient courage, patient toil,
Her stubborn wordless pride?
A little land, yet loved therein
As any land may be,
Rejoicing in her discipline,
The salt stress of the sea.

Our hearts shall walk a Sherwood track,
Our lips taste English rain,
We thrill to see the Union Jack
Across some deep-sea lane;
Though all the world be of rich cost
And marvellous with worth,
Yet if that island ground were lost
How empty were the earth!

A song for England?
Lo, every word we speak's a song for England.
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