To The Motherland [poem by Norman L. Beurle, 13 October 1899]

[Editor: This patriotic poem by Norman L. Beurle was published in The Herald (Melbourne), 13 October 1899. This poem was written at the time of the Boer War (South Africa, 1899-1902).]

To Thy Motherland.

Mother of the Hundred Sons,
Hand-in-hand to-day;
Hear us, o’er your silent guns,
Ready for the fray.
Hear thy children’s voices ring,
Where the wattle-blossoms cling,
Where the lonely bell-birds sing
Carols loud and gay.

Hear us! Not our words alone;
We can do and dare!
Not in vain thy wrecks were strewn
On our coast-rocks bare.
In our veins the blood’s thine own,
Thine the sinew, thine the bone;
Thine the lusty strength upgrown,
In this Austral air.

Foul befall the sluggard arm
When the steel is bare!
Hark, the loud and shrill alarm!
See, the lurid glare!
Westward Ho! Through stress and storm,
Motherland, thy children swarm;
When thy grim red-jackets form,
Britain, we’ll be there!

Kenmare, 6th October.

The Herald (Melbourne, Vic.), 13 October 1899, p. 4

Also published in:
The Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic.), 21 October 1899, p. 20 (under the title of “Shoulder to Shoulder”)

Editor’s notes:
Austral = of or relating to Australia or Australasia; Australian, Australasian; an abbreviation of Australia, Australian, Australasia, Australasian; in a wider context, of or relating to the southern hemisphere; southern, especially a southern wind

gay = happy, joyous, carefree (may also mean well-decorated, bright, attractive) (in modern times it may especially refer to a homosexual, especially a male homosexual; may also refer to something which is no good, pathetic, useless)

o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)

red-jacket = (also “redcoat”) a reference to soldiers in the British army, who wore red coats as part of their standard uniform (especially prevalent during the 17th to 19th centuries); “red-jackets”, or “redcoats”, may refer to the British army in general

Old spelling in the original text:
thine (your)
thy (your)

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