Proudly the great ship night and day
Swept on, with a conqueror’s pride,
Fearing nought that could check her way,
Unheeding of wind or tide.
But, slow and cold, from the ice-bound shores
Moves the berg, in its silent might,
Till its sword strikes through to the good ship core,
In the calm of the April night.
And a thousand, and more, in manhood’s flower,
Gallant and strong and brave,
Yield their chances of life in that awful hour,
To the weak they must help and save!
Braver than fiercest battle cry
The Captain’s voice rings clear:
“Be British!” and silent acts reply,
Better than answering cheer.
“Be British!” the call with its mystic spell,
Thrills the hearts so brave and true;
To honour the name they love so well,
How much would they dare and do!
Now, ’tis theirs to die–in that dear name–
And His–Who died to save,
The helpless and weak. They own the claim,
And yield Him the life He gave.
Round the wide world the tale is told–
How duty is no dream–
How British courage ne’er grows cold
In the stress of a need supreme!
How a glory nobler than that of strife
Lights our banners undefiled,
When the rich and the poor alike give life
For the woman and the child!
“Be British!” ’mid the changing hopes and fears
The words keep their passion still,
That God hath wrought through the storied years,
His mission to fulfil;
And never–when passing from thought to lip–
May their impulse lower fall
Than that which breathed through their stricken ship,
In the Captain’s midnight call.