Friday, 21 March 2014
WORLD POETRY DAY
Song of the Crowning of Kings (part only)
Lauchlan Maclean Watt
Here, all alone in the dark,
While the stars are dying,
My soul grows still, and I hark
To the voice of the sea-winds crying
From far away, where, low on the long-ridged sands,
The tired grey sea beats out his time-old song with weary hands,
And, as I listen, up from the ghostly street,
I hear the throb of a thousand marching feet,
And ever, as they come,
The faint, dull guiding pulse of a distant drum.
The windows are silent all, and darkened, the lights are gone:
And the dying starlight flickers, dimly wan,
But I know that the town is full of the shadows of marching men,
Though never a trace of their passing shall wait the dawn,
And never on earth, except in dream, shall their faces gleam again.
And my soul is caught from its stillness,
And the stars awake in the night,
And the winds, from the waste and the waters,
Cry, half in joy and in fright:
"Who are ye ghostly marchers,
And whence do your squadrons come,
And your companies pressing onward
To the beat of the phantom drum?"
"We are the dead of England:
Our dust is under the leas.
They buried us deep, in our battle-sleep,
They plunged us down in the seas.
We are the brave of England,
We fought for the bristling breach,
And died that our brothers might climb on our bones,
And carry the flag where we could not reach...
We went down in the waste of waters:
We grappled the foe on ships...
In mist and smoke, where battle broke,-
And her name was on our lips.
Living or dying,
Our flag still flying,
Where our hands had nailed it fast,
We fell for the might of England,
And we were not her last.
"Never a cannon's booming,
Never a battles roar,
Never the marching of armies
Thundrous, along the shore,
But it stirred us in our sleeping,
And we turned in our nameless bed,
For we knew there were wars for England,
And we were England's dead...
We have heard... we have burst our prison,
For a king to be hailed, and crowned,
We have waked for a while and risen
To gather, and guard him round.
For a King's to be crowned in the Minster,
And the bravest should be there;
The living and dead of England
Her sorrows and joys must share."