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Poem by Robert Southey

Epitaph in Butleigh Church

DIVIDED far by death were they whose names,
In honor here united as in birth,
This monumental verse records. They drew
In Dorsets healthy vales their natal breath,
And from these shores beheld the ocean first,
Whereon in early youth, with one accord,
They chose their way of fortune; to that course
By Hood and Bridports bright example drawn,
Their kinsmen, children of this place, and sons
Of one who in his faithful ministry
Inculcated within these hallowed walls
The truths in mercy to mankind revealed.
Worthy were these three brethren each to add
New honors to the already honored name;
But Arthur, in the morning of his day,
Perished amid the Caribbean Sea,
When the Pomona, by a hurricane
Whirled, riven, and overwhelmed, with all her crew
Into the deep went down. A longer date
To Alexander was assigned,for hope,
For fair ambition, and for fond regret,
Alas, how short! for duty, for desert,
Sufficing; and, while Time preserves the roll
Of Britains naval feats, for good report.
A boy, with Cooke he rounded the great globe;
A youth, in many a celebrated fight
With Rodney had his part; and having reached
Lifes middle stage, engaging ship to ship,
When the French Hercules, a gallant foe,
Struck to the British Mars his three-striped flag,
He fell, in the moment of his victory.
Here his remains, in sure and certain hope,
Are laid, until the hour when earth and sea
Shall render up their dead. One brother yet
Survived, with Keppel and with Rodney trained
In battles, with the Lord of Nile approved,
Ere in command he worthily upheld
Old Englands high prerogative. In the East,
The West, the Baltic and the Midland Seas,
Yea, wheresoever hostile fleets have ploughed
The ensanguined deep,his thunders have been heard,
His flag in brave defiance hath been seen;
And bravest enemies at Sir Samuels name
Felt fatal presage, in their inmost heart,
Of unavertible defeat foredoomed.
Thus in the path of glory he rode on,
Victorious alway, adding praise to praise,
Till, full of honors, not of years, beneath
The venom of the infected clime he sunk,
On Coromandels coast, completing there	
His service, only when his life was spent.

  To the three brethren, Alexanders son,
(Sole scion he in whom their line survived,)
With English feeling, and the deeper sense
Of filial duty, consecrates this tomb.

Robert Southey

Robert Southey's other poems:
  1. For the Cenotaph at Ermenonville
  2. St. Bartholomews Day
  3. For a Tablet at Penshurst
  4. For a Monument in the Vale of Ewias
  5. For a Monument in the New Forest

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