I recently located a very rare volume of a Toronto weekly newspaper for 1915, viz.: “The Weekly Mail and Empire and Farm and Fireside.” Toronto, Ontario: Printed by The Mail Printing Co.. This newspaper originated in mid-1872, absorbed some other Toronto newspapers in the 1890s and lasted until bought in November,1936 by the Globe to become what is now called the “Globe and Mail.” One could hardly expect at the time, location and simple title of the newspaper alone that any anti-Imperial verse would be welcomed! During the era of the First World War it normally published weekly issues on Tuesdays in 24 pages folio size and enthusiastically welcomed Canadian poetic contributions creating a treasure trove of Canadian amateur poets generally. Eureka’s verse “A Toast to Empire” would have brought a pleasantly brief smile to Winston Churchill in London if Churchill ever saw or read this verse. “A Toast to Empire” dated at the end of this poem to Christmas Day, 1914, Toronto appears in this weekly’s Volume XLI [ 41 ], Issue No. 3, January 19, 1915, page 22, viz.:
“A Toast To Empire.”
Here’s a health to Merry England,
And her kingdom on the sea,
Her flag that waved a thousand years
The fight to keep men free.
Here’s a health to Bonnie Scotland,
Caledonia stern and true,
Her pibrochs and her Highland glens,
Her locks and mountains blue.
Here’s to dear old Ireland,
The Gem of the Western wave,
And the courage of her soldiers –
The bravest of the brave.
Here’s to far Australia,
The land of the Southern Cross,
Whose sons will fight for the Union Jack,
And die ere it suffer loss.
Here’s to brave New Zealand
The first to send her ships –
The England of those far-off seas
Where the compass southward dips.
Here’s to Southern Africa,
The latest British land,
Who crushes out the rebel scum
With a heavy iron hand.
And now a health to Canada,
Our own dear native home,
Whose sturdy sons to guard her rights
Have crossed the ocean’s foam.
Once more – a health to India’s hosts,
Though all of a different creed,
Are willing to show that British they are
in times of Britain’s need.
And so our mighty Empire,
In Britain, three in one,
Four square throughout the outer world
Will last till time is done.
Toronto, Christmas Day, 1914