Ho! a song for the hardy sons of earth,
That know no tyrant’s power;
You valient [sic] men of Britain’s birth
Standing first in trouble’s hour;
With iron reins you quell his ire,
And bid his wranglings cease;
Britannia ever doth aspire
To the glorious motto – “Peace!”
Ho! a song in praise of Britain’s sons,
True, loyal, brave, and free;
Of honour’s race, if one surpass,
Britannia’s son is he!
Whene’er immersed in sulphurous smoke
You coolly brave all fate;
To fire a gun to you’s a joke,
And keeps each heart elate.
You go where danger points the way,
To win renown and scars;
Each mandate stern you aye obey,
Your commander he is – Mars!
Ho! a song in praise, &c.
Then, hurrah! for brave Britannia’s sons,
At sea so proudly ranging,
And perhaps e’en now their grand broadsides
Are with hostile foe exchanging.
In history’s glorious page enrolled
Conspicuous shines each name,
Those dauntless guardians of our land
Crowned with the wreath of fame,
Ho! a song in praise, &c.
Where’er you be, on land or sea,
And whatever may betide!
Though far, far from your native isle,
Still heaven above’s your guide!
Then blessings rest upon your heads –
May your paths from cares be free?
Remember, well! whate’er your lot,
Britannia prays for ye!
Ho! a song in praise, &c.
She loves you with a faithful love;
No art can e’er erase
The affection of her heart, when tears
Begem her victor face,
The greatness of her holy love’s
Unfathomable spell,
Which binds Britannia to her sons,
No pen or voice can tell!
Ho! a song in praise, &c.
Manchester, January 6th, 1862.

Title:Britannia's Sons

Author:Thomas Forster Ker

Publication:Bury Guardian

Published in:Bury

Date:Jan 11 1862

Keywords:Nationalism, Politics, War


This jingoistic poem celebrates British military bravery and suggests that it is slow to anger but resolute when called upon, a common trope in Victorian national mythology. The poem may be responding to increasing tensions between Britain and the warring factions in America, which were to come to a head later in the year with the Trent Affair, a diplomatic incident which seriously endangered peace between the nations. – SR