Coronation Poem and Prayer

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   The world has crowned a thousand kings:
      But destiny has kept
   Her weightiest hour of kingly power
      To offer England’s son.
   The rising bell of Progress rings;
      And Truths which long have slept,
   Like prophets strange, predicting change,
      Before Time’s chariot run.

   The greatest Empire of the Earth.
      Old England proudly stands.
   Like arteries her Colonies
      Reach out from sea to sea.
   She clasps all races in her girth;
      Her gaze the world commands;
   And far and wide where strong ships ride,
      The British Flag floats free.

   Oh, never since the stars began
      Their round of Cosmic law,
   And souls evolved in ways unsolved,
      And kingdoms reached their prime
   Has Destiny held out to Man
      A gift so full of awe,
   As England’s crown which she hands down
      In this stupendous time.

   This is a crucial hour, when Fate
      Tries Monarchs as by fire.
   All rulers must be more than just—
      Men starve on bread alone.
   Old England’s sense of right is great:
      But now let her aspire
   To feel more love, and build thereof
      An everlasting Throne.

   The dreaming East, awake at last,
      Is asking ‘when’ and ‘why’;
   Wait not too long nor answer wrong,
      Nor in too stern a voice.
   Let England profit by her past,
      And with her wise reply
   Rouse hearts, within her foster kin
      To hope, and to rejoice.

   True wealth dwells not in things we own,
      But in our use of things.
   Who would command a conquered land
      Must conquer first its heart.
   Such might as Man has never known,
      And power undreamed by kings,
   And boundless strength would come at length
      To one who used that art.

   For now has dawned the People’s day:
      A day of great unrest.
   Nor king nor creed can still man’s need
      Of time and space to grow.
   All lands must shape a wider way,
      For this eternal quest;
   And Leisure yield a larger field
      Where work-worn feet may go.

   The Universe is all a-thrill
      With changes imminent.
   The World in faith, with bated breath,
      Holds free the Leader’s place.
   And wise is he whose heart and will
      At one with Time’s intent,
   Shall open wide doors long denied
      To mothers of the race.

   On this round globe, oh, when and where
      Were fitter time and scene
   For Woman’s soul to reach its goal
      Than now in England’s realm.
   Was not the crown its King will wear
      Made glorious by its Queen?
   And who steered straight its ship of State?
      Victoria at the Helm!

   Kings have been kings by accident,
      By favour and by force,
   But right of birth and moral worth,
      And Empires rich and broad
   For England’s King to-day are blent
      Like rivers on one course.
   But, ah! the light falls searching white
      Down from the Throne of God.

   Lord of the Earth and heavenly-spheres,
      Creator of all things,
   Thou who hast wrought great worlds from naught,
      Give strength to England’s son.
   Give courage to dispel those fears
      That come to even kings,
   And for his creed give Love’s full mead;
      Amen. Thy Will be done.

from An Englishman and Other Poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1912)

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