Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ROSE AND MAPLE LEAF, by HENRY CHAPPELL

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THE ROSE AND MAPLE LEAF, by            
First Line: Came a loud knocking at the empire's gate
Last Line: An empire knit in one vast brotherhood.
Subject(s): Cemeteries; Death; Flowers; Graves; Roses; Graveyards; Dead, The; Tombs; Tombstones

CAME a loud knocking at the Empire's gate,
And there with tangled locks and blazing eyes
Bellona stood, and swung her torch of fate
In blood-red circles far about the skies.
Then flamed the world, and then grew dark the sun,
War's monstrous incense rolled in lurid shrouds
Athwart the face of Heaven blinding-dun,
Temples of God and man dissolved in clouds.

Long, long, a fawning tongue and heart of guile
Had lulled Britannia into somnolent ease,
Grave warning counsels met with but a smile
Or old smug platitudes about the seas.
Then fell red War, but grand mid stress and dearth
She faced with level eyes the storm and strife,
And at her call from out the ends of earth
Armies invincible have leaped to life.

As by some touch of wizards' mighty hand
There came lion-hearted, and with purpose high,
The Sons of Canada to take their stand
To fight for England, or perchance to die;
Came lithe and strong from Yukon's gold sprent tide;
Came from where Melville's surges thundering roar,
Southward, from giant cities spreading wide,
Eastward, from Hudson Bay and Labrador.

And they have written deep on history's scroll
A tale of chivalry, that in the light
Of afterdays will ring from pole to pole
In deathless epics of a peoples' might.
O, what an answer, bond on bond is sealed,
And wide flung ends indrawn as strong links meet
In strife red forged, by mingled blood annealed;
A chain of Empire, flawless, stands complete.

Fair Canada, whate'er may come with years,
Or weal or woe as drifts their tide along,
In joy our smiles are yours, in sorrow, tears;
In sadness, sympathy; in mirth our song;
And lips grown old will tell with trembling pride,
While young cheeks mantle, and bright eyes are wet,
To hear of that heroic khaki tide
That swept o'er St Eloi and Courcellette.

Counsel, you head men, build for years unborn,
Lest Time should slack the bonds and men forget,
Lest Victory of its guerdon should be shorn;
Counsel together and bind stronger yet
The friendship born on many a hard won plain
In mutual sacrifice for mutual good.
So from War's ashes there shall rise and reign
An Empire knit in one vast Brotherhood.

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