Cicely Fox Smith

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

In The Museum Of The Royal United Service Institution - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Seized from strong foes by England's might,
Gleaned from the world's-end far and wide,
The trappings and the pomp of fight
Around us lie on every side:
The trophies of the ringing fray;
The flag that draped a sailor's bier;
The little things of every day
That draw a mighty name so near.

The sword-knot that a hero wore;
The sword that struck for England well;
The coat a Russian sabre shore;
The timber rent by shot and shell;
A shred of cloth, a tarnished lace,
A helmet with a drooping plume,
Bring all the wild heroic days
Resounding thro' the silent room.

Sounds thro' the stillness, clear and strong,
The midnight bugle's startled call;
Speaks yon grim cannon, voiceless long;
Waves yon torn ensign on the wall,
As when beneath it went to war
The best earth held of strong and brave,
Amid the veiled fight's clang and roar,
The thunder o'er the shot-lashed wave.

Here lie Omdurman's victor-sword,
And hauberks wov'n of tempered rings;
Light Maxims; brazen cannon stored
In armouries of Eastern kings;
The flags Napoleon's bravest bore;
The tribesman's knife, the Dervish spear;
From wars a hundred years before,
And frontier fight of yester year.

Ah! more than weapons strong to slay,
For these in danger's hour may fail,
The heart that beats as brave to-day,
'Neath coat of red as coat of mail.
These records, uncompleted yet,
Of England's might on shore and sea,
Tell us the tale we ne'er forget
Of what has been and still shall be.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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