The Broken Men





FOR things we never mention,
For Art misunderstood
For excellent intention
That did not turn to good;
From ancient tales' renewing,
From clouds we would not clear
Beyond the Law's pursuing
We fled, and settled here.

We took no tearful leaving,
We bade no long good-byes.
Men talked of crime and thieving,
Men wrote of fraud and lies.
To save our injured feelings
'Twas time and time to go
Behind was dock and Dartmoor,
Ahead lay Callao!

The widow and the orphan
That pray for ten per cent,
They clapped their trailers on us
To spy the road we went.
They watched the foreign sailings
(They scan the shipping still),
And that's your Christian people
Returning good for ill!

God bless the thoughtful islands
Where never warrants come;
God bless the just Republics
That give a man a home,
That ask no foolish questions,
But set him on his feet;
And save his wife and daughters
From the workhouse and the street!

On church and square and market
The noonday silence falls;
You'll hear the drowsy mutter
Of the fountain in our halls.
Asleep amid the yuccas
The city takes her ease
Till twilight brings the land-wind
To the clicking jalousies.

Day long the diamond weather,
The high, unaltered blue
The smell of goats and incense
And the mule-bells tinkling through.
Day long the warder ocean
That keeps us from our kin,
And once a month our levee
When the English mail comes in.

You'll find us up and waiting
To treat you at the bar;
You'll find us less exclusive
Than the average English are.
We'll meet you with a carriage,
Too glad to show you round,
But we do not lunch on steamers,
For they are English ground.

We sail o' nights to England
And join our smiling Boards
Our wives go in with Viscounts
And our daughters dance with Lords,
But behind our princely doings,
And behind each coup we make,
We feel there's Something Waiting,
And we meet It when we wake.

Ah, God! One sniff of England
To greet our flesh and blood
To hear the traffic slurring
Once more through London mud!
Our towns of wasted honour
Our streets of lost delight!
How stands the old Lord Warden?
Are Dover's cliffs still white?