George Barlow

The Anglo-Japanese Treaty Sonnet
(Feb. 14, 1902)

When Hate’s black standard is at length unfurled
And stored-up rancours smite thee,—when from France
Springs Waterloo’s for ever poisoned lance
And Germany, like a huge snake uncurled,
Gleams fierce and fork-tongued,—when from Russia hurled
Dark armies down the Asian vales advance
Pitiless, immense, barbaric,—when no glance
Meets thine of friendship, not through all the world,
Though bright through all the world flamed once thy flag,—
Then, while the mad guns rave from crag to crag
And thou art wrestling with the hosts of man,
Thine armour rent even as a woman’s scarf,
Who shall stand by thee? This thy loving dwarf,
Thy staunch ally, thy saviour, swart Japan.






George Barlow (1847-1914) was also known as James Hinton. Between 1871 and 1914 he published plays, essays, and more than a dozen full-length collections of verse, much of it in sonnet form, at major London presses. ‘The Anglo-Japanese Treaty Sonnet’ appeared first in volume 10 of The Poetical Works of George Barlow (London: Glaisher, 1913).






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