Albert Durrant Watson
Cromwell - Poem by Albert Durrant Watson
SAY not to me:
'Cromwell, thou diest.' Save thy timid breath.
Do not the wild winds noise it o'er the world?
Shall he alone who made God's word his guide
And put the yoke of England on the seas
Not know the face of death when all God's foes
Whisper and say: 'The Lord Protector dies'?
Suppose ye he will tremble, gasp, turn pale,
At hint of death, which he so often dared?
Life's shuttle drifts across the web of time,
And if posterity see but one strand
Of purpose fair, or trace amid the woof
One feeble pattern to some worthy end,
Life was not vain. My sword my spokesman was;
It speaks no more, yet all the world doth know
It curbed the pride of kings.
Play not the role
Of simulated tears, but draw ye near,
For there are some words still Cromwell would say,
Even though his word be silent. Nearer still,
Lest nature's furious voice baffle your ears
With roaring winds and thunders pierced with fire.
The toils of state–these do not matter much;
But that the people love not righteousness,
Know not reality, bowing their souls
To musty precedents–that matters much.
That warders of the realm would still with words
The groans that from the battle's whirlwind call,
With paper promises and inky lies
Would heal the hurt of England, matters more.
That they whose thought doth show no real fact;
Whose words show something other than their thought;
Whose office, tricked with gaudy trappings, struts
So loud with blare of brass they cannot hear
The voice of God; so big with littleness,
They cannot see the lawful rights of man–
That matters all.
This too remember well–
I learned it late: None but a tyrant makes
That good prevail that is not in men's hearts,
And tyranny is questionable good.
Therefore must all men learn by liberty,
And with what pain their doings on them bring.
Give these my words to those who care to hear;
My thanks to you that ye report them true,
And for your patience now. I cannot hear
Your words, nor can I more, so stand apart,
That, undistracted by the storms of state
Or any human presence, I may come
Before the King of kings in hope and faith
For pardon of my sins.
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