Topic: AIF - Marching Songs
Australian Imperial Forces
For an Empire Beloved - EA Henty
When the 1st Contingent of the AIF arrived in Egypt, the latest patriotic song arrived from England. It was printed by the AIF press for distribution amongst all the troops at Mena Camp. It is difficult to ascertain the popularity of this song at the time. Considering that this song has no recorded history, it is possible that its lyrics did not reach out to the common AIF man. It is difficult to imagine a Battalion of sweating AIF men marching out of Mena Camp singing this air to the cadence of the stamping feet. Since it was deemed important enough for the commanding officers to order its printing, it is included in the selection of songs sung by the AIF.
For an Empire Beloved
Over the Seas the loveliest thoughts are winging
And sons of the Empire are coming, coming soon,
For a Motherland is calling, and hearts go out to King and Country,
As somewhere a band is playing an old familiar tune:
'Tis, "The girl I left behind me," but she's proud to help old England,
Tho' oceans roll behind her man just gone,
She'll wait, and listen patient and keep a fair face bravely smiling-
A true daughter of the Empire bred and born.
'Neath Southern Cross as fairest flowers unfold;
Or in further Northern Country there are misty days of Autumn
When God's touches turn the maples to a world of red and gold.
Can you hear them? They are coming, and the loyal hearts are beating,
'Neath dusky starlit Heavens from radiant lands in Tropic's glow,
With green palm leaves softly waving and bamboo rustling gently,
Wood by night winds in hushed silence, as they softly come and go.
Stalwart men with grave-set faces -
Proud and splendid Sons of Empire - bronzed and brown,
Who hear the Homeland needs them, they're coming, surely, swiftly,
Prom palace, city, land, and little town,
Strong to help a dear old Country - who has herself helped them
To do for her whate'er her needs decree;
And Britons will remember deeply grateful,
And thank their sons thro' all the years to be.
So over the world I seem to hear them coming,
And willing hands are stretched across the Sea,
While a Motherland is waiting and her children hope for peace with honour,
As they come each one to set her free.
'Tis for an Empire beloved where truth and justice temper mercy
And tho' troubles may assail them, for her each heart's afire,
And we too must hope and welcome these our kindred,
And pray God give each man who does his duty - just his heart's desire.
Tang Hall, York.
(From: The Yorkshire Post.)
Further Reading:Australian Light Horse
Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: Australian Imperial Forces, Marching Songs, For an Empire Beloved - EA Henty