William Lisle Bowles

(1762 - 1850 / England)

Battle Of Corruna


The tide of fate rolls on!--heart-pierced and pale,
The gallant soldier lies, nor aught avail,
The shield, the sword, the spirit of the brave,
From rapine's armed hand thy vales to save,
Land of illustrious heroes, who, of yore,
Drenched the same plains with the invader's gore,
Stood frowning, in the front of death, and hurled
Defiance to the conquerors of the world!
Oh, when we hear the agonising tale
Of those who, faint, and fugitive, and pale,
Saw hourly, harassed through their long retreat,
Some worn companion sinking at their feet,
Yet even in danger and from toil more bold,
Back on their gathering foes the tide of battle rolled;--
While tears of pity mingle with applause,
On the dread scene in silence let us pause;
Yes, pause, and ask, Is not thy awful hand
Stretched out, O God, o'er a devoted land,
Whose vales of beauty Nature spread in vain,
Where misery moaned on the uncultured plain,
Where Bigotry went by with jealous scowl,
Where Superstition muttered in his cowl;
Whilst o'er the Inquisition's dismal holds,
Its horrid banner waved in bleeding folds!
And dost thou thus, Lord of all might, fulfil
With wreck and tempests thy eternal will,
Shatter the arms in which weak kingdoms trust,
And strew their scattered ensigns in the dust?
Oh, if no human wisdom may withstand
The terrors, Lord, of thy uplifted hand;
If the dark tide no prowess can control,
Yet nearer, charged with dread commission, roll;
Still may my country's ark majestic ride,
Though sole, yet safe, on the conflicting tide;
Till hushed be the wild rocking of the blast,
And the red storm of death be overpast!

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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