The Frontier Line

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From Songs of Action (1898).




What marks the frontier line?
Thou man of India, say!
Is it the Himalayas sheer,
The rocks and valleys of Cashmere,
Or Indus as she seeks the south
From Attoch to the fivefold mouth?
'Not that! Not that!'
Then answer me, I pray!
What marks the frontier line?

What marks the frontier line?
Thou man of Burmah, speak!
Is it traced from Mandalay,
And down the marches of Cathay,
From Bhamo south to Kiang-mai,
And where the buried rubies lie?
'Not that! Not that!'
Then tell me what I seek:
What marks the frontier line?

What marks the frontier line?
Thou Africander, say!
Is it shown by Zulu kraal,
By Drakensberg or winding Vaal,
Or where the Shire waters seek
Their outlet east at Mozambique?
'Not that! Not that!
There is a surer way
To mark the frontier line.'

What marks the frontier line?
Thou man of Egypt, tell!
Is it traced on Luxor's sand,
Where Karnak's painted pillars stand,
Or where the river runs between
The Ethiop and Bishareen?
'Not that! Not that!
By neither stream nor well
We mark the frontier line.

'But be it east or west,
One common sign we bear,
The tongue may change, the soil, the sky,
But where your British brothers lie,
The lonely cairn, the nameless grave,
Still fringe the flowing Saxon wave.
'Tis that! 'Tis where
THEY lie--the men who placed it there,
That marks the frontier line.'





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