Francis Turner Palgrave

Marston Moor

July 2: 1644

O, summer-high that day the sun
His chariot drove o'er Marston wold:
A rippling sea of amber wheat
That floods the moorland vale with gold.

With harvest light the valley laughs,
The sheaves in mellow sunshine sleep;
--Too rathe the crop, too red the swathes
Ere night the scythe of Death shall reap!

Then thick and fast o'er all the moor
The crimson'd sabre-lightnings fly;
And thick and fast the death-bolts dash,
And thunder-peals to peals reply.

Where Evening arched her fiery dome
Went up the roar of mortal foes:--
Then o'er a deathly peace the moon
In silver silence sailing rose.

Sweet hour, when heaven is nearest home,
And children's kisses close the day!
O disaccord with nature's calm,
Unholy requiem of the fray!

White maiden Queen that sail'st above,
Thy dew-tears on the fallen fling,--
The blighted wreaths of civil strife,
The war that can no triumph bring!

--O pale with that deep pain of those
Who cannot save, yet must foresee,--
Surveying all the ills to flow
From that too-victor victory;

When 'gainst the unwisely guided King
The dark self-centred Captain stood,
And law and right and peace went down
In that red sea of brothers' blood;--

O long, long, long the years, fair Maid,
Before thy patient eye shall view
The shrine of England's law restored,
Her homes their native peace renew!

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