Poems (Coates 1916)/Volume I/To England
WE are not twain, but one: though seas divide us—
The children of the English-speaking race—
This nothing now can change: whate'er betide us,
This is our birthright grace.
The tongue that holds our earliest recollection,
Whose accents moved us like a fond caress—
The tongue in which we lisped our first affection,
Attaches and doth bless.
America and England knit together—
Offspring of one great Mother, Sister Lands—
Need fear nor frowning fate nor boding weather,
While close are joined their hands.
Beneath the ocean-billow sways the cable
That gives them instant knowledge, each of each,
And were it sunk, their hearts would still be able
To find a way of speech.
America, who virgin prairies planted
To bless the alien,—Teuton, Latin, Gaul,—
Welcomes the poorest, as to realms enchanted,
And makes them English, all!
And still, the elder, in the hour of danger,
The bond of kinship never quite forgot,
Speaks with commanding accent to the stranger:
"Be heedful; touch her not!"
Oh, we have felt—have felt with one another,
Sharing each other's hope, each other's dread;
And we have wept, as children of one mother,
Mourning our cherished dead.
Is 't for ourselves this friendship hath caressed us—
That Heaven hath strengthened so the English speech?
Nay; God forbid! the mercy that hath blessed us
Hath a diviner reach!
If with new strength there come not larger kindness,
Men's banners, proudly borne, were better furled;
If we no longer see, for selfish blindness,
Beyond our realms, the world,—
Then poor, indeed, though vast our rule supernal,
Who magnify the ill we might redeem;
Missing the glory of the hope eternal—
The godlike, human dream!
To solace life, there blooms on earth a flower
Whose deathless name is Love. Of its increase
Are born compassion, freedom, beauty, power;
And of its gift is peace.
O Sister Lands, thrice blest! though wisdom guide us,
Yet in our hearts may love perfected lie—
Deep as the ocean that cannot divide us,
Kind as the arching sky!