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We have a voice, with which to pay the debt
Of most unbounded reverence and regret
To those great men who fought, and kept it ours.
O Statesmen, guard us, guard the eye, the soul
Of Europe, keep our noble England whole,
And save the one true seed of freedom sown
Betwixt a people and their ancient throne,
That sober freedom out of which there springs
Our loyal passion for our temperate kings;
For, saving that, ye save mankind
Till public wrong be crumbled into dust,
And help the march of human mind,
Till crowds be sane and crowns be just ;
But wink no more in overtrust.
Perchance our greatness will increase ;
Perchance a darkening future yields
Some reverse from worse to worse,
The blood of men in quiet fields,
And sprinkled on the sheaves of peace.
And O remember him who led your hosts ;
Respect his sacred warning; guard your coasts :
His voice is silent in your council-hall
For ever; and whatever tempests lower
For ever silent; even if they broke
In thunder, silent-yet remember all
He spoke among you, and the Man who spoke ;
Who never sold the truth to serve the hour,
Nor palter'd with Eternal God for power.
His eighty winters freeze with one rebuke
All great self-seekers trampling on the right.
Truth-teller was our England's Alfred named,
Truth-lover was our English Duke ;
Whatever record leap to light
He never shall be shamed.
Lo the leader in these glorious wars
Now to glorious burial slowly borne,
Follow'd by the brave of other lands,
He, on whom from both her open hands
Layish Honour shower'd all her stars,
And affluent Fortune emptied all her horn.
Yea, let all good things await
Him who cares not to be great,
But as he saves or serves the state.
Not once or twice in our rough island-story
The path of duty was the way to glory.
He that walks it, only thirsting
For the right, and learns to deaden
Love of self before his journey closes, He shall find the stubborn thistle bursting Into glossy purples, which outredden All voluptuous garden-roses. Not once or twice in our fair island-story, The path of duty was the way to glory. He, that ever following her commands, On with toil of heart and knees and hands, Thro’ the long gorge to the far light has won His path upward, and prevaild, Shall find the toppling crags of Duty scaled Are close upon the shining table-lands To which our God Himself is moon and sun. He has not fail'd: he hath prevaild: So let the men whose hearths he saved from shame Thro' many and many an age proclaim At civic revel and pomp and game, And when the long-illumined cities flame, Their ever-loyal iron leader's fame, With honour, honour, honour, honour to him, Eternal honour to his name.
Peace, his triumph will be sung
By some yet unmoulded tongue
Far on in summers that we shall not see.
Peace, it is a day of pain
For one about whose patriarchal knee
Late the little children clung.
O peace, it is a day of pain
For one, upon whose hand and heart and brain
Once the weight and fate of Europe hung.
More than is of man's degree
Must be with us, watching here
At this, our great solemnity.
Whom we see not we revere.
We revere, and we refrain
From talk of battles loud and vain,
And brawling memories all too free
For such a wise humility
As befits a solemn fane :
For solemn, too, this day are we.
O friends, we doubt not that for one so true
There must be other nobler work to do
Than when he fought at Waterloo,
And Victor he must ever be.
Tho' worlds on worlds in myriad myriads roll
Round us, each with different powers,
And other forms of life than ours,
What know we greater than the soul ?
16 ODE ON THE DEATH OF THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON.
The man is gone, who seem'd so great,
Gone, but nothing can bereave him
Of the force he made his own
Being here, and we believe him
Something far advanced in State,
And that he wears a truer crown
Than any wreath that man can weave him.
But speak no more of his renown,
Lay your earthly fancies down,
And in the vast cathedral leave him.
God accept him, Christ receive him.