You ask me, why, tho' ill at ease, Within this region I subsist, Whose spirits falter in the mist, And languish for the purple seas. It is the land that freemen till, That sober-suited Freedom chose, The land, where girt with friends or foes A man may speak the thing he will; A land of settled government, A land of just and old renown, Where Freedom slowly broadens down From precedent to precedent: Where faction seldom gathers head, But by degrees to fullness wrought, The strength of some diffusive thought Hath time and space to work and spread. Should banded unions persecute Opinion, and induce a time When single thought is civil crime, And individual freedom mute; Tho' Power should make from land to land The name of Britain trebly great-- Tho' every channel of the State Should fill and choke with golden sand-- Yet waft me from the harbour-mouth, Wild wind! I seek a warmer sky, And I will see before I die The palms and temples of the South.
Return to the Alfred Lord Tennyson Home Page