Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 5/September the third

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SEPTEMBER THE THIRD.
(THE ANNIVERSARY OF CROMWELL’S DEATH, OF DUNBAR, AND OF WORCESTER.)

 

I.

Whereas the storm had died away, and thou,
Brave spirit, parting too, didst render vain
(So thought thy people) every strongest vow
And most assurèd prayer for thy domain:
If then, uprising over dim Whitehall,
And far beyond the blear and sunken day,
Thou didst attain some midway-hanging throne
To watch the striving nations rise and fall,
And see the seeds of thy most high essay
Ferment and quicken in their proper day,
Thyself forecasting all result full grown,

 

II.

Even now behold us where we battle still,
And toil, and—toiling—see not yet the end,
But barren wrangling, apathetic will,
With friend and foe commingled, foe and friend.
Strike one strong ray on our bewildered kind,
Meting sure limits for true men and good,
For wise men and for foolish, rich and poor:
Until we wonder, simpler grown, to find
State-knots resolved and Parliaments renewed:
And wake to lessons of the blessed Rood
Fairer, more beautiful, undreamed before.

 

III.

But—for wild winds, foul-striking, may drive on
Some plague of storm even to our northern gate—
If any, in the rack, with smile or frown,
Seeking occasions, question of our state,
Let none, word valiant, gage of battle scorn:
Let no mock union a mock fight foreclose:
But, always near, instruct us to be free,
As once[1] among the rows of Severn corn:
Or when with solemn face, on scattered foes
That reddened grassy Brockburn, God arose[2]
Beyond St. Abb and the grey German sea.

Horace Moule.

 

  1. Worcester.
  2. Dunbar. As the Royalists fled from the field, the sun rose over St. Abb’s Head: then Cromwell, falling on his knees on the ground, recited from the 68th Psalm, “Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered.”