by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Our hearts were not set on fighting,
We did not pant for the fray,
And whatever wrongs need righting,
We would not have met that way.
But the way that has opened before us
Leads on thro’ a blood-red field;
And we swear by the great God o’er us,
We will die, but we will not yield.
The battle is not of our making,
And war was never our plan;
Yet, all that is sweet forsaking,
We march to it, man by man.
It is either to smite, or be smitten,
There’s no other choice to-day;
And we live, as befits the Briton,
Or we die, as the Briton may.
We were not fashioned for cages,
Or to feed from a keeper’s hand;
Our strength which has grown thro’ ages
Is the strength of a slave-free land.
We cannot kneel down to a master,
To our God alone can we pray;
And we stand in this world disaster,
To fight, like a lion at bay.