Mrs. Merrill E. Gates

Japanese War Song (1895)

(Versified by Mrs. Merrill E. Gates)

Though China, ancient foe,
Ignoble be and low,
Though deeply scorned she may be in our eyes,
Yet fierce her armies are,
And strong her ships of war!
All history bids us not such power despise.
The over-confident oft lose the fight.
Because they will not see their foeman’s might!

Our ancestors,—each man
Who died to save Japan,—
How shall we meet them, if we vanquished yield?
Courageous men of old,
Righteous they were and bold
To fight and conquer on the deadly field!
How shall we face these heroes brave,
If, recreant sons, we shun a patriot’s grave?

Our Fatherland we love!
All other hopes above
We hope the hope for our dear Land to die!
Then forward, never rest!
Let courage fill each breast!
Now is the hour the patriot’s heart to try!
Onward, unresting, night and day!
Forward, still forward let us force our way!

O soldiers, should you lose
Your hands and feet, still choose
To face the foe, and forward toward him creep!
Scorn to be beaten back!
Let conquest mark your track!
Heroes ye are! They, hordes of craven sheep!
Let flames from China’s castles rise!
Their land in ashes lay before their eyes!

Mary C. (Bishop) Gates (d. 1905) was author of a number of poems that appeared in American journals in the 1880s and 1890s, always under the name Mrs. Merril E. Gates. Her husband, Merrill Edwards Gates, was Presendent of Rutgers College (1882-1890) and Amherst College (1890-1899), a member of the U. S. Board of Indian Commissioners (1884-1901), and author of the notorious Land and Law as Agents in Educating Indians (1885-1889?). ‘Japanese War Song’ appeared in Life and Light for Women (March, 1895, p. 101), a journal formerly known as Life and Light for Heathen Women, the publication of the Boston-based Women’s Board of Missions.

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