A Patent of Nobility

To be by blood and long descent
A member of a mighty State,
Whose greatness, main-girt, but unpent
By ocean, makes the World more great;

That, ranging limitless, hath won
A rule more wide than that of Rome,
And, journeying onward with the sun,
In every sea hath found a home;

That, keeping old traditions fast,
Still hails the things that are to be,
And firmly rooted in the past,
On law, hath grafted Liberty.

That is a birthright nobler far
Than titled claim or “Right Divine”
From far-off rapine, wanton war,
And I could feel this birthright mine.

And not the lowliest hand that drives
Or share or loom, if so it be
Of British strain, but thence derives
A Patent of Nobility.

  • Alfred Austin

Alfred Austin (b. 1835) was Poet Laureate of England after Alfred Lord Tennyson. It seems he wasn’t very highly regarded as a poet, and as this source indicates, he was criticized for his ”jingoism” as well as his poetic style. Nevertheless, I like the old style of poetry and sometimes the message of the poem overshadows any fault one finds with the stylistic aspects of the poetry — which after all is a matter of personal preference to an extent.

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