Australian and Other Poems/A Fragment

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For works with similar titles, see A Fragment.
 
A FRAGMENT.[1]

 
The Roman's force in war and warlike arts,
The Grecian's genius and heroic parts,
The Egyptian's learned skill, the Persian's power,
The Macedonian's fire, the Frank's brief hour-
All these are themes that in the historic page
Shall live transcendent to the latest age.
But even now a story forms, whose pride
Above these other themes shall one day ride;
Repressed each fault that in the warring jars,
His rage forgotten, and his wanton wars.
The Briton's fame in after years shall light
A glory 'mid these beams more fair, more bright.

 
Not how he led his legions far and wide,
Subduing nations to his vaulting pride;
Not how he made of war a game, or framed
Huge, lifeless piles, unstoried as unnamed;
Not these the deeds his sounding name shall spread:
Far nobler works the Islander has sped.
How conquering ocean and subduing space.
The earth he traversed with a steady pace;
How unallured by love of golden ores.
He pitched his peaceful camp on doubtful shores;
How by no dangers checked or turned aside.
He pierced the forest, climbed the mountain side;
How leading commerce in the wake of toil.
He built up cities and subdued the soil;
While all the chaster arts successive came,
To gild and beautify the mighty frame;
How carrying out the great behest he ran
From pole to pole, the harbinger of man.
Such deeds relating—shall the historian say,
'Twas thus the Briton held his glorious way"

  1. These verses were written in a small county town, nearly 200 miles distant from the metropolis, and were suggested by the wondrous evidences of the progress of civilization which were everywhere visible—a progress the more striking when viewed in relation to the apparently insuperable obstacles which had been overcome in carrying civilization so far into the interior of a rugged and inhospitable country.—Jan. 1855.