Britannia’s Volunteers [song, 12 September 1885]

Britannia’s Volunteers.

When air resounds with war’s alarms,
And conscripts from afar,
Like driven sheep are forced to arms
To make aggressive war,
Let soldier-ridden lands beware
When freemen turn to fight;
When Britain’s sons their flag may bear
They stand with Freedom’s might.
They laugh to scorn our numbers,
And say our day is sped;
Because in peace he slumbers
They think the Lion’s dead;
But wake him, and the farthest seas
Return his angry roar,
And swiftly every spreading breeze
Bears it from shore to shore.

Go, tell the world of conscripts
That Britain’s Britain still;
Go, tell the world of conscripts
Our watchword’s Freedom still.
So let aggression-forced array
Fill those it may with fears;
We’ll answer their conscriptions with
A million Volunteers.

Canadian sons, from frost and snow,
Extend a ready hand,
Backed still by hearts that fiercely glow
Like summer in their land,
And show our foes, whoe’er they be,
No rolling seas can part
The ties that bind the brave and free
Where beats a British heart.
Australian sons their blood have shed
Already by our side;
For once Britannia bares her head
In gratitude and pride.
Strong in her gallant sons’ support
Her cause can know no fears;
No spartan sword was yet too short
That armed such Volunteers!

Chorus: Go tell the world, &c.

They were no conscripts Marlbro’ led,
But freemen Volunteers —
A freeborn race from fathers bred
That won for us Poictiers;
No conscript names were on the roll —
All heroes, dead and gone —
That blazoned bright on Victory’s scroll
The name of Wellington;
And Inkermann’s immortal height
Will tell for many a day
How sternly sons of Freedom fight,
Let odds be what they may.
Thus Liberty scorns vain alarms,
And answers back with cheers:
No conscript legions flogged to arms
Have yet flogged Volunteers!

Chorus : Go, tell the world, &c.

They think to crush Old England,
And take her mighty place:
When they wipe out from ev’ry land
The language of her race;
When Justice meekly sheathes her sword,
And freemen ne’er make laws;
When tyrants rule by force and fraud,
And dead is Freedom’s cause;
When Liberty shall see her home
Low-levelled with the turf,
And watch each son in turn become
A tyrant-driven serf;
When freedom’s sacred name’s forgot
Within the hearts of men —
They’ll crush us to the earth, but not —
By Heaven! — but not till then.

Chorus : Go, tell the world. &c.

J. Michean.
Macquarie River, September, 1885.

The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld.), Saturday 12 September 1885, page 417

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