Felicia Dorothea Hemans

(25 September 1793 – 16 May 1835 / Liverpool, England)

The Bended Bow - Poem by Felicia Dorothea Hemans

There was heard the sound of a coming foe,
There was sent through Britain a bended Bow,
And a voice was pour'd on the free winds far,
As the land rose up at the sign of war.

'Heard ye not the battle-horn?
-Reaper! leave thy golden corn!
Leave it for the birds of Heaven,
Swords must flash, and spears be riven!
Leave it for the winds to shed-
Arm! ere Britain's turf grow red!'

And the reaper arm'd, like a freeman's son,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.

'Hunter! leave the mountain-chase!
Take the falchion from its place!
Let the wolf go free to-day,
Leave him for a nobler prey!
Let the deer ungall'd sweep by,-
Arm thee! Britain's foes are nigh!'

And the hunter arm'd ere the chase was done,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.

'Chieftain! quit the joyous feast!
Stay not till the song hath ceas'd:
Though the mead be foaming bright,
Though the fires give ruddy light,
Leave the hearth and leave the hall-
Arm thee! Britain's foes must fall.'

And the chieftain arm'd, and the horn was blown,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.

'Prince! thy father's deeds are told,
In the bower and in the hold!
Where the goatherd's lay is sung,
Where the minstrel's harp is strung!
-Foes are on thy native sea-
Give our bards a tale of thee!'

And the prince came arm'd, like a leader's son,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.

'Mother! stay thou not thy boy!
He must learn the battle's joy.
Sister! bring the sword and spear,
Give thy brother words of cheer!
Maiden! bid thy lover part,
Britain calls the strong in heart!'

And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on,
And the bards made song for a battle won.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010

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