Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

Caesar's Camp - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Not for the wealth of thy teeming markets,
Roaring factory, thronging way,
Stern strong city of toil and commerce
Under thy veil of smoke-cloud grey,
Stands thy name with the great in story,
Glows and glories and lives for aye.

Ringed with foemen and weak with famine,
Sick at heart with a hope long fain,
Far from home and the aid they longer for, -
All night long in the dark and the rain
Grit of the Northland struck for England,
Fought for the right when the fight seemed vain.

Weary and wan the dawn came creeping
O'er shell-swept hollow and rain-swept hill,
Over the slopes where the fight was ended,
And the silent ridge where the dead lay chill,
Sealed and bought with the blood of the English,
Dead on the hill that was English still.

There was never a one stood by to praise them,
No voice to cheer them nor tongue to tell,
No light to guide and no lead to follow,
No helping hand for the men who fell;
Lone in the darkness they won the guerdon
That wealth can buy not nor weakness sell.

So rejoice, O Queen of the Northland,
Ever the tale our hearts shall thrill,
How in the Southland far from England,
By shot-swept hollow and thundering hill,
Men of the Northland held for England
Whose fame should live tho' thy streets were still.

So do honour to dead and living,
Who, few and fearless, from dark to day,
Won a gift for thee and for England
No time nor sorrow can steal away;
Wealth may pass, but the deeds of heroes
Keep and hallow thy name for aye.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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