[Editor: This song by Allan F. Wilson was published in the Geelong Advertiser (South Geelong, Vic.), 20 March 1909.]
(With apologies to the shade of Rouget de L’Isle.)
Rouse ye, all leal and true Australians,
Our country’s foes are near at “hand,”
E’en now the tread of hostile aliens
Resounds thro’ our imperilled land;
Upon our shores their swarms are poured
To whelm us in one common grave.
Our wives and children to enslave,
Our land to waste with fire and sword.
To arms, Australians all,
Hark to your country’s call,
Drive them like sheep, into the deep,
Or like Australians fall.
The smouldering torch of war is lit,
By those who would our land despoil;
But ere to numbers we submit,
Our hearts’ best blood shall dye the soil.
Never while we live to defend her
Shall enemies our land invade,
Till none remain to wield a blade,
Our watchword shall be “No surrender.”
On rushing like a flooded stream,
They come in overwhelming power,
To arms! it is no time to dream,
While they our fertile land devour.
To arms! for country, home and hearth,
Who will refuse his blood to shed?
Before the land they overspread,
In seas of blood we’ll drench the earth.
Australia in most grievous straits,
While foreign hordes her soil profane,
Her children’s timely help awaits,
Say shall she wait that help in vain?
Shall we who make it our proud boast.
That we from fighting sires are sprung,
From conflict cease till we have thrust
Back from our shores the swarming host?
To arms! and on the battle field,
We’ll prove beneath our own blue sky,
That though they’ve never learned to yield,
Australia’s sons know how to die.
Curst be the traitor who refrains
When there is work that must be done,
We’ll hold the land our fathers won,
Till the last drop escapes our veins.
— Allan F. Wilson.
Geelong, March 15th, 1909.
Geelong Advertiser (South Geelong, Vic.), 20 March 1909, p. 7
curst = (archaic) cursed
e’en = (archaic) a contraction of “even”
ere = before (from the Middle English “er”, itself from the Old English “aer”, meaning early or soon)
La Marseillaise = the national anthem of France, written by Rouget de L’Isle in April 1792, when France was at war with Austria; it was originally entitled the “Chant de Guerre pour l’Armée du Rhin” (“War Song for the Army of the Rhine”), however, following the song’s use by volunteers from Marseille who marched into Paris in July 1792, it received the nickname of “La Marseillaise”; it was chosen as the French national anthem by the National Convention (the first government of the French Revolution) in 1795
leal = faithful and true
profane =something which is not sanctified; something which is not dedicated to, or related to, religion or religious purposes; secular; irreligious; a person or action which is characterized by contempt or irreverence for God, religion or religious principles or things; blasphemous actions or language; regarding the violation of religion or of religious or sacred items; someone who has not been initiated into religious rites
Rouget de L’Isle = Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle (1760-1836), a French composer, the author of “La Marseillaise” (the national anthem of France)
shade = ghost; disembodied spirit
thro’ = (vernacular) through
whelm = overwhelm; engulf, submerge (may also mean: bury, cover, especially to turn something upside down so as to put a cover over something else; or: to well up, surge)
ye = (archaic) you (however, still in use in some places, e.g. in Cornwall, Ireland, Newfoundland, and Northern England; it can used as either the singular or plural form of “you”, although the plural form is apparently the more common usage)