The daylight lay in ashes
On the blackened western hill,
And the dead were calm and still;
But the night was torn with gashes—
Sudden ragged crimson gashes—
And the siege-guns snarled and roared,
With their flames thrust like a sword,
And the tranquil moon came riding on the heaven's silver ford.
What a fearful world was there,
Tangled in the cold moon's hair!
Man and beast lay hurt and screaming,
(Men must die when Kings are dreaming!)—
While within the harried town
Mothers dragged their children down
As the awful rain came screaming,
For the glory of a Crown!
So the Morning flung her cloak
Through the hanging pall of smoke—
Trimmed with red, it was, and dripping with a deep and angry stain!
And the day came walking then
Through a lane of murdered men,
And her light fell down before her like a Cross upon the plain!
But the forts still crowned the height
With a bitter iron crown!
They had lived to flame and fight,
They had lived to keep the Town!
And they poured their havoc down
All that day . . . and all that night. . . .
While four times their number came,
Pawns that played a bloody game!—
With a silver trumpeting,
For the glory of the King,
To the barriers of the thunder and the fury of the flame!