O the bannered sea is gay, and the shores keep holiday,
And the hot life-tide leaps high
To the fluttering flags adip, to the pride of ship and ship,
As the glittering hulls go by.
Is it tribute meet for Power, for the bubble of an hour?
Is it homage for the brave in fight
To Might, the overlord of the red and ruthless sword;
To the bright blade bared to smite?
O the World-call thrilling thro’! O the watchword ringing true
O’er the petty paths we dare!
Where the glimmering grey hull glides to the sob of sundering tides
And the pulses of the World beat, bare.
’Tis the undersong that rings thro’ the inner soul of things!
From the Tropics to the Poles it runs;
Waking, waking souls from sleep with a resonance more deep
Than the thunder of your twelve inch guns.
List! ’tis throbbing, throbbing now from the Leeuwin to Cape Howe,
From Otway to the lone Gulf shore!
’Tis the call of race to race that shall quicken Time and Place,
Till war shall be no more — no more!
’Tis the call of man to man, cleaving bars of creed and clan
As your steel bows cleave the foam;
’Tis a beacon burning bright for the homeless hosts of Right,
Ever beckoning, Come home! Come home!
So it’s true, brother! true to the solemn star and new
That burns in the skies above;
Ship and sister ship we speak, and the ensign at the peak
Is the star — the steadfast star of Love.
Marie E. J. Pitt, The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses, Melbourne: Specialty Press, 1911, pages 90-91