The Confederation Poets
Lift Up Your Hearts
5th Feb 2014Posted in: The Confederation Poets 0

Lift Up Your Hearts

[unnumbered page, includes illustration: CANON FREDERICK GEORGE SCOTT
C.M.G., D.S.O., V.D., D.C.L., F.R.S.C.
SENIOR CHAPLAIN,
First Canadian Division, C.E.F., 1914-1919]

[blank page]

Lift up your hearts.  All will come
right.  Out of the depths of sorrow
and sacrifice will be born again the
glory of mankind.

—WINSTON CHURCHILL.
THE RYERSON PRESS ~ TORONTO
[unnumbered page]

COPYRIGHT, CANADA, 1941, BY
THE RYERSON PRESS, TORONTO

All rights reserved.  No part of this
book may be reproduced in any
form, by mimeograph, or any other
means (except by reviewers for the
public press), without permission
in writing from the publishers.
The author’s royalties from the sale
of this book will be donated to the
Queen’s Fund, London, England,
for the relief of civilian war victims.

[unnumbered page]

Lift Up Your Hearts


“LIFT UP YOUR HEARTS”

The garden that I love the best is the garden of the sky;
There are no lilies half so white as the clouds that wander by,
No blue-bells have a deeper hue than the highways of the day
Till roses redden in the West when the sun has gone away.

And, sweeping down the garden paths, the winds stoop down and bring
The scent of far sky-meadows where wild birds on the wing
Like thoughts are flitting here and there in freedom’s ecstasy,
Forgetting all the world below and the nest on rock and tree.

No power of man can shut me out from the garden of the sky,
For I can mount on spirit wings where no one passes by;
I can pluck the hues of morning and wear them for a crown,
Or lie at ease upon the clouds when the tired day goes down. [page 3]
And all the gates are golden gates and fancy holds the key
And gives me ownership of all above the land and sea;
I hear no more the noisy world but, guided by a star,
I drift beneath the dome of night to where fresh beauties are.

Quebec.

SHOULD FREEDOM FALL

Should Freedom fall and I had held aloof,
What would my days be—days and months and years,
My vision gone, my laughter drowned in tears
And every heart-beat stinging with reproof;
What bed would bring me sleep, what sheltering roof
Would shield me from the lightning hail of fears
And mockery of a world whose scorn and jeers
Would crush me in the mire beneath its hoof?

When young and old were slaughtered day and night,
And pity, love and mercy cast aside,
When monster hordes, in their satanic might,
Were tearing down the cross on which Christ died,
If I had held aloof and gone my way,
Hell’s worm and fire would gnaw me night and day.

September 12, 1940. [page 4]

THE AIRMEN

O ye winged valour of our nation’s soul,
Courageous Hearts, ye dauntless soar on high,
Forgetting earth and not afraid to die.
Beneath you, seas illimitable roll
And strip the icebergs from each glittering pole;
Engulfing clouds like monsters pass you by,
And night enwraps you in the lonely sky,
But nought diverts you from your destined goal.

Ye bear on high the banner of our Land,
Out-soaring eagles in their loftiest flight,
Swift as the lightning on your headlong race;
And when invisible death on every hand
Darts his swift arrows, mounting out of sight,
Ye guard our realms from battlements in space.

November 3, 1940.

 

THE ALLIANCE

 

Heart unto heart unfolding one great aim—
A world redeemed from tyrants and their shame,
Americans and British side by side
Breast now the flood of wrong’s unhallowed tide.

Brothers in blood, brothers in mind and soul,
Your phalanxed strength in one long battle roll
Is herald of the dawn that ends the night
And phantom forms of evil puts to flight.

Out of the wrack and turmoil of the time,
With strong endeavour in a cause sublime,
Ye are God’s pledge that men shall one day see
The downfall of man’s blood-red tyranny.

August, 1940. [page 5]

 

THE VALLEY OF DECISION

O France, proud France, where sleep our million dead,
Birthplace of saints, of noble chivalry,
And high adventure on the land and sea,
Our soul with thine in one great cause was wed
And our hearts’ blood with thine for thee was shed,
But visions of a greater world to be
Held back our tears.  Our brotherhood with thee
Hung star-like o’er the dawn towards which we sped.
O France, the Traitor now our loves would part;
With lying lips he would enslave thy soul
And force by wiles thy loyal hands to thrust
A dagger deep into thy comrade’s heart.
Sister, beware!  If he thine honour stole,
He would but grind thee deeper in the dust.

August 23, 1940.

THE STRONGHOLD OF GOD

O stronghold of the ways of God
   Dear mountains breathe in me your calm,
Those peaks where never man has trod
   Are to my tortured mind a balm.

Defiant of man’s petty strife,
   Ye stand unmoved beneath the sky;
No hail, no storm with lightning rife
   Can blast your godlike majesty.

For this God set you on the rim
   Of our round world to lift the soul
Through storm and tempest up to Him
   Who holds man in supreme control. [page 6]

When selfish aims our ways confound
   And we like insects blindly grope
For nurture in the fields around,
   You fill us with a larger hope.

The truths obscured by earthly strain,
   The verities of place and time,
Emerge from out our harassed brain,
   And man like you becomes sublime.

He too was moulded by the Handed
   Which built your peaks against the sky,
But higher heights for him are planned
   In an immortal destiny.

IMPREGNABLE

Minions of Hell and Satan, do your worst;
Drown our poor children, topple down our fanes,
Count old and shattered bodies for your gains,
When on their quiet homes the bombs have burst;
Gorge on the quivering flesh and slake your thirst
In human blood on streets and country lanes.
Yours is a noble calling, worth the pains
Which moulded you into beast accurst.
But, monsters, know this:  that our sires have wrought
Behind the fabrics which your fires destroy,
A Britain built by all that’s best in man,
An everlasting dome of lofty thought,
Of high resolve, of brotherhood and joy.
This, this is Britain.  Crush her if you can!

October 21, 1940. [page 7]

THE MOTHER

I dreamt the war was over and the long green fields of grain
Were ripening in the sunshine, for peace had come again;
The birds were singing gaily, no clouds were on the sky,
And the children laughed and frolicked as they did in days gone by.

But the waking, oh, the waking, with the siren screams above—
“Hush, darling, come to mother’s arms; be still, my little love.”

Those dreams that come so early in the darkness of the dawn,
Before the stars have vanished or night her veil withdrawn,
Are full of happy faces, my childhood comes again,
For I know that up in Heaven there is neither death nor pain.

But the waking, oh, the waking, with the scream of shells above—
“Hush, darling, come to mother’s arms; be still, my little love.”

I dreamt last night of England, the England I had known,
But it had somehow changed; ah, yes, more beautiful had grown. [page 8]
The skies were bluer than before, the people were more kind,
For rich and poor and high and low had but one heart and mind.

 But the waking, oh, the waking, with the roar of guns above—
“Hush, darling, come to mother’s arms; be still, my little love.”

And once I dreamt a long, long dream all through a silent night,
For angel forms were passing by in a strange and golden light,
While a soft voice whispered near me, “Bow down, faint Soul, bow down,
For these go up to Calvary to win the victor’s crown.”

But the waking, oh, the waking, with the crash of worlds above—
“Hush, darling, come to mother’s arms; be still, my little love.”

February 18, 1941. [page 9]

FAITH

We have been fools, and grievous fools still are—
   Wrangling in hate and blood and lust of power
   Which spoil the joy and freshness of man’s hour
Of tiny life upon this lovely star.
Could they have voice, star systems from afar
   And planets dead in meteoric shower
   Would scorn man’s claim to have a godlike dower
Of heavenly wisdom, whom such failings mar.

Yet somewhere, throned invisible in space,
   The Eternal Architect who built the skies,
   Who is the Fount of beauty, truth and love,
For some majestic purpose formed our race
   And quells our waywardness.  Faith lifts her eyes
   And sees His constant guidance from above.

CANADA TO AUSTRALIA

Not only through the heart but through the limbs
Of our great Empire flows the lion’s blood—
That full, rich blood of courage, love and right,
That brother blood which binds strong men in one,
That dauntless purpose scorning pain and death,
That wild, free life resistless as the sea.

So now, Australia, mighty Commonwealth,
We hail thy triumph as another gem
Set in the Crown of Britain.  Not alone
Your pride exalts you, for your pride is ours.
So close and interwoven are our realms
That seas unite them under different stars. [page 10]

We pledge to thee our love and this resolve
That, come what may of hardship, grief or death,
We too will stand undaunted to the end
To share with thee our Empire’s victory.

GOD IS MY STRENGTH

God is my strength—He underlies my life,
   My soul, though mine, lies passive in His Hand;
God talks with me and gives me peace in strife,
   And in His light I walk and understand.

God is my friend, He shapes and moulds my will;
   God, my physician, probes and cleans my wrong;
God brings me harmony and, small and still,
   His voice attunes me to the heavenly song.

God is my strength—Beneath the changing years,
   He lives and moves and breathes into my breath;
His thoughts are wings and, high above all fears,
   They bear me to the golden gates of death.

August 23, 1939. [page 11]

REVEILLE

Against the blazoned Eastern sky
   The bugle call is sounding—
A day to live, a day to die,
   A day with life abounding;
The quickened manhood in my veins
Drives out all thought of former pains.

At home, the prayers of child and wife,
   The love of maid and mother;
Out here, the glory and the strife
   And brother linked with brother;
Out here, the hours so full and fleet,
And duty’s cup, so bitter sweet.

O splendour of the rising sun
   Across the dark earth pouring!
Above the roar of shell and gun
   My heart is madly soaring;
For every soldier good and true
Begins each day his life anew.

     

BRITAIN TO AMERICA

Not as a mendicant with piteous whine
   Ask we your aid in this most bitter hour,
   But as your lone defenders from the power
Of Satan’s minions.  In the fierce front line,
With heads unbowed, in a crusade divine,
   We guard man’s liberty.  We do not cower
   Before the foe; nay, as the dark clouds lower,
The Star of Freedom doth more brightly shine. [page 12]

What can we give you, for our means run low?
   Gold?  Yea, rich gold, ideals pure and high,
      Courage to breast wrong’s huge on-coming flood,
Sweat of strong men and widows’ tearless woe,
   Wreckage of beauty, even the children’s cry
      From shattered homes,—your payment is our blood!

January 29, 1941.

TO FRANCE

O France rise up, shake off the tyrant’s heel
Upon thy neck, thou wast not born for chains,
Thy soul was of the morning, wide as heaven,
Thy beauty was the bounteous gift of God.
Through cloud and mist, thine eyes beheld His Face
And visioned truth upheld thee with her wings.

Where is St. Louis, where the wondrous Maid,
Who led thine arms and King to victory?
Thy spirit is not dead, no treachery
Or selfish meanness in the hearts of men,
Not of thy breed, can crush thee in the dust,
If but thou wilt look backward to thy past
And onward to the days that lie ahead,
In that new age when France shall reign once more,
A guide and inspiration to Mankind.

                                        We shed no tears
In our own grief, it is not ours to weep
When war bursts on us with its hellish power,
But we could weep for France, the Queen that was,
When she lies low beneath the foul command
Of force that scorns all that was best in her. [page 13]

Rise up, O France, the world hath need of thee,
Thy torch of liberty uphold on high.
The million heroes from thy loins behold
In heavenly courts the face of Him who reigns
To guard our righteousness.  Their prayers ascend
Before His throne.  With one great voice they cry
For thy deliverance.  Rise, break thy chains
And, crowned with dawn, march on to victory.

PIUS XI

Lay his white form among the darkened tombs
Of Potentates and Kings, and near the dust
Of that Apostle who once mended nets
By Galilee, until he heard God’s call.

Let not the rumbling of huge armoured-cars
Nor traffic of fierce nations break his rest;
Through sleepless hours his heart was wracked with grief
For evil days to come upon the Earth;
Long nights of suffering found him praying for peace
In a distracted world of wayward men.

God’s chariots are twenty thousand, but
They make no noise, bearing the wounded off
From warring nations to the fleet of Christ,
Who is man’s pledge of brotherhood, whose love
Has drained life’s bitter cup unto the dregs.

The last word on his dying lips was “Peace”;
It was his message to a darkened world,
When on his vision burst the dawn of Christ.

February 16, 1939. [page 14]

YOUTH

The hosts of youth are marching in the day-spring of their life,
   They are mounting up the highway and they face the distant goal;
They crave not praise nor pity as they gird them for the strife,
   But their cry goes up for ever, “Give us freedom of the soul.”

The hosts of youth are marching, they have broken down the bars
   Of the world our fathers left us which we cherished for our own,
For they found earth full of beauty and the night ablaze with stars
   And the spirit sweeps them onward in the lire of the unknown.

The hosts of youth are marching and their hearts are all aflame
   With the glory of the sunrise in the land that gave them birth,
No leader goes before them and their visions none can name,
   But they go to take possession of the Kingdom of the Earth. [page 15]

THE VISION

I wandered alone by the shining sea
   And my heart was heavy and sore,
But the Lord came over the waves to me
   And my heart was sad no more.

The robe He wore was the blue of the sky
   The waves before Him smiled,
And His eyes wore the gaze of a mother’s eyes
   When she looks at her wayward child.

Yes, out of the mighty deep He came,
   The realm of the sun and stars,
But He wore on His head no crown of flame
   And His hands were pierced with scars.

The breeze was a censer of golden love
   And the waves a heavenly choir,
For under the wings outstretched above,
   I found my heart’s desire.

FINLAND

Lord of the blood-stained lands, thy shield is white—
   White as the snow which erstwhile was thy friend;
Thou valiant spear-head in the cause of Right,
Thy name and deeds will be a guiding light
   In all man’s high endeavours to the end.

March 13, 1940. [page 16]

TO AMERICA

The honour shield of Britain
   Shines over land and sea,
And on it burns the watchword
   That all men shall be free;
No power of upstart nations
   Can blast it from the earth,
For God has given man freedom
   By heritage of birth.

Rise up, O mighty Sister,
   Gird on thy sword to fight,
We twain must stand together
   To champion human right;
The cries of anguished peoples
   Have pierced us to the heart,
Great land and home of freedom,
   Rise up and do your part.

May 6, 1941.
    

MY CREED

The hills may crumble into dust,
   The earth may swallow up the sea,
But nought can shake my living trust
   In Him whose firm hands moulded me.

For when I draw myself apart
   From things which make my vision dim,
Deep in the silence of my heart
   He meets me and I speak with Him. [page 17]

THE WARRIOR

What word did Duty say,
As he passed by today
And found me helpless, lying vanquished by the way?

My sword was red with rust,
My throat was choked with dust,
But Duty looked and said unpityingly, “Thou must.”

Then straight a burst of fire
Rekindled my desire,
And I sprang up iron-willed, determined to aspire.

THE INNER SHRINE

Vex not my soul with all this empty striving
   Of warring state-craft and ambitious creeds,
For not through these shall come man’s great arriving,
   But by the silent path of Christlike deeds.

Christ saw no race nor class where He was feeding
   The hungry thousands with the bread of life,
No trumpets sounded when His feet were bleeding,—
   Heroic victor in heroic strife.

Rise then, my brother, cast the world behind you,
   Shoulder the cross and follow in the line,
Whate’er your creed, the Master’s eyes will find you
   And you shall meet Him at the inner shrine. [page 18]

A CANADIAN

The glad and brave young heart
   Had come across the sea.
He longed to play his part
   In crushing tyranny.

The mountains and the plains
   Of his beloved land
Were wine within his veins
   And gave an iron hand.

He scorned the thought of fear,
   He murmured not at pain,
The call of God was clear,
   The path of duty plain.

Beneath the shower of lead,
   Of poison and of fire,
He charged and fought and bled,
   Ablaze with one desire.

O Canada, with pride
   Look up and greet the morn,
Since of thy wounded side
   Such breed of men is born.

 

The poem above was written in the fierce fighting following the gas attack at Ypres on April 22, 1915.  I was puzzled how to get it out of our lines because Vlammertinghe was being heavily shelled and we had no post office.  Finally, I found a British general going back and I gave it to his chauffeur to post when he could.—F.G.S. [page 19]

 

“SING OF ME, O POET”

 

The Age said unto me:
“Sing of me, O Poet, for I am magnificent;
I am the father of all the ages that are to be;
My voice is the voice of artillery, it is louder than thunder.
My hands hold the lightnings of death;
My heart bursts with the stored-up hatreds of humanity.
I am ruthless—kings, priests, empires are swept away by the waft of my wing.
I know no bounds to my will, I fear not the wreckage of gods.
My thirst is for the blood of men,
My hands would make a shambles of the world;
My thoughts like arrows pierce beyond the galaxies of space.
Sing of me, O Poet, for I am moulding all things to my will;
I have dethroned God, fall at my feet and worship.”

But I saw the light on the everlasting hills,
I saw the smile on a child’s face,
I felt the grip of a friend’s hand,
And I said, “In God is my strength.” [page 20]

THE SPELL OF NATURE

There is no wisdom in the ways of men
Like that which dwells within some wooded glen,
Where fitful breezes part the trees on high
And show blue spaces of the open sky.

The stream that tumbles from some unseen height
And sings a song most loudly heard at night
Tells more of God than all the monstrous tomes
In college courts or ‘neath cathedral domes.

And oft when weary with the cares of life,
Of warring nations and ancestral strife,
I seek such quiet nook and lie at ease
Companion only of the rocks and trees.

The little sounds that by the soul are heard,
Some falling leaflet or some twittering bird,
Steal through the silence and have power to heal
The grief which none can utter, only feel.

Then fading like a memory of the past
The world slips from me and a spell is cast
Around my soul until I drift apart
And dwell with loving nature, heart to heart. [page 21]

O CANADA

O Canada, my country and my love,
O Canada, with cloudless skies above,
   Where e’er I roam,
   Where e’er my home,
My heart goes back to thee,
   Thy lakes and streams,
   Thy boundless dreams,
Thy rivers running free.
   O Canada, O Canada,
God pour His blessings on thee from above,
O Canada, my country and my love.

 

Written in Armentières, France, 1915, and sung by the Soldiers in the Y.M.C.A. Hut on the Newe Eglise road, near Ploegsteert.

 

THE COLOURS OF THE FLAG

What is blue on our flag, boys?
   The waves of the boundless sea,
Where our vessels ride in their tameless pride
   And the feet of the winds are free;
From the sun and smiles of the coral isles
   To the ice of the South and North,
With dauntless tread through tempests dread
   The guardian ships go forth.

What is the white on our flag, boys?
   The honour of our land,
Which burns in our sight like a beacon light
   And stands while the hills shall stand;
Yes, dearer than fame is our land’s great name,
   And we fight, wherever we be,
For the mothers and wives that pray for the lives
   Of the brave hearts over the sea. [page 22]

What is the red on our flag, boys?
   The blood of our heroes slain
On the burning sands in the wild waste lands
   And the froth of the purple main.
And it cries to God from the crimsoned sod
   And the crest of the waves outrolled
That He send us men to fight again
   As our fathers fought of old.

We will stand by the dear old flag, boys,
   Whatever be said or done,
Though the shots come fast, as we face the blast,
   And the foe be ten to one; —
Though our only reward be the thrust of a sword
   And a bullet in heart or brain,
What matters one gone, if the flag float on
   And Britain be lord of the main. [page 23]

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