Sounds of rural life and labour!
Not the notes of pipe and tabour,
Not the clash of helm and sabre
Bright'ning up the field of glory,
Can compare with thy ovations,
That make glad the hearts of nations;
E'en the poet's fond creations
Pale before thy simple story.
In the years beyond our present,
King was little more than peasant,
Labour was the shining crescent,
Toil, the poor man's crown of glory;
Have we passed from worse to better
Since we wove the silken fetter,
Changed the plough for book and letter.
Truest life for tinsel story?
Up the ladder of the ages
Clomb the patriarchal sages,
Solving nature's secret pages,
Kings of thought's supremest glory;
Eagle-winged, and sight far reaching -
Are we wiser for their teaching? -
Wrangling creeds for gentle preaching!
Falsest life for truest story!
Man is overfraught with culture,
Virtue early finds sepulture,
While our vices sate the vulture
We misname a bird of glory;
Life is blindly artificial,
Rarely pass we its initial,
All our aims are prejudicial
To its earnest, simple story.
Hail, primeval life and labour!
Martial notes of pipe and tabour,
Gleam of spears and clash of sabre,
Hero march from fields of glory,
All the thundering ovations
Surging from the hearts of nations,
Poet dreams and speculations,
Pale before thy simple story!