Banjo Paterson

Song of the Federation

As the nations sat together, grimly waiting– The fierce old nations battle-scarred– Grown grey in their lusting and their hating, Ever armed and ever ready keeping guard, Through the tumult of their warlike preparation And the half-stilled clamour of the drums Came a voice crying, ‘Lo! a new-made nation, To her place in the sisterhood she comes!’ And she came–she was beautiful as morning, With the bloom of the roses in her mouth, Like a young queen lavishly adorning Her charms with the splendours of the South. And the fierce old nations, looking on her, Said, ‘Nay, surely she were quickly overthrown, Hath she strength for the burden laid upon her, Hath she power to protect and guard her own? Then she spoke, and her voice was clear and ringing In the ears of the nations old and gray, Saying, ‘Hark, and ye shall hear my children singing Their war-song in countries far away. They are strangers to the tumult of the battle, They are few but their hearts are very strong, ‘Twas but yesterday they called unto the cattle, But they now sing Australia’s marching song.’ Then they passed to the place of world-long sleeping, The grey-clad figures with their dead, To the sound of their women softly weeping And the Dead March moaning at their head: And the Nations, as the grim procession ended, Whispered, ‘Child! But ye have seen the price we pay, From War may we ever be defended, Kneel ye down, new-made Sister–Let us Pray!’

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