The Lion's Cup

Maurice Thompson

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The whelp that nipped its mother's dug in turning from her breast,
And smacked its lusty lips and built its own lair in the West,
Has stretched its limbs and looked about and roared across the sea:
"Oh, mother, I did bite thee hard, but still thou lovest me!"

She lifts her head and listens, as waking from a dream,
Her great jaw set, her claws outspread, her lion eyes agleam;
The voice is deep as thunder on the far horizon rim,
And up the mother spoke and said: "It can be none but him!"

Cried England to America: "My ancient love abides,
And the old Trafalgar courage still upon the ocean rides."
America to England spake: "The God of Liberty
Goes with us marching up the land and sailing down the sea."

And the twain are joined for hunting,--let all the packs beware,
The tiger's kith, the panther's kin, the race-hordes of the bear.
They two step forth together, God's hand has struck the hour,
All pathways lead to freedom, each footstep broadens power.

The world is still in dull amaze, agape and dazed to hear;
There is a rustling of the thrones, uneasy far and near,
King leaning unto king, and on Oppression's hateful lips
A pallor as the wind brings in the booming of the ships.

And who shall cower, who recoil, or choose the craven's tack,
And strain the law (by heroes made) to hold his country back?
Ah, who? Let children lisp his shame and women cry him down
What time our glorious banner waves o'er storm√ęd tower and town.

The star is up, the star of splendor, never to set or wane;
The flag leads on, the flag of glory, never to turn again;
And where it goes we cheer and follow, no man of us will fail;
We all are where our armies camp and where our navies sail.

World-conquering mother, hard we bit in parting from thy breast;
Yet still we smack our lusty lips and love thy milk the best;
For the blood our mother gave us is the true imperial strain;
She bore one cub, one only, but it wears the lion's mane!

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