Monday, 25 September 2017

I Vow To Thee My Country (Urbs Dei or the Two Father Lands)

I heard my country calling, away across the sea,
Across the waste of waters, she calls and calls to me.
Her sword is girded at her side, her helmet on her head,
And around her feet are lying the dying and the dead;
I hear the noise of battle, the thunder of her guns;
I haste to thee, my mother, a son among thy sons.

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And Her ways are ways of gentleness, and all Her paths are peace.

Original poem by Sir Cecil Spring Rice. The final two stanzas being set to music by Gustav Holst (Thaxted/Jupiter from the Planet Suite).

The final line of the second verse is from Proverbs 3:17 (KJV), “Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all Her paths are peace,” in the context of which the feminine pronoun will refer to Wisdom.

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