H. D. Rawnsley

To the Mikado, Portsmouth, U.S.A.
August 29, 1905

Because you fenced not for your rights, but stood
For Peace—a solid thing—no hollow name;
Because more dear than gold or conqueror’s fame
You held the ties of human brotherhood;
Because you would not wade through seas of blood
To one last move in battle’s desperate game;
Therefore we hold you honoured, and acclaim
You kingliest leader of the wise and good.

For in degenerate days when every throne
Unreverenced quakes, and lust, not life, is free,
There in your sea-girt isle of Old Japan
You teach how virtue lives from man to man,
How self-restraint, self-sacrifice must be
The bonds that make and keep a nation one.







See notes about Rawnsley under Voices from the Dust. ‘To the Mikado’ appeared in A Sonnet Chronicle (Glasgow: MacLehose and Sons, 1906).






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