Cicely Fox Smith
Saint Paul's - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
From where the City's seething tide
Rolls on unceasing, day by day,
To yonder soaring dome aside
A little turn, a little stay,
And find, if thou art England's son,
The secret - that is hid from none.
There read the tale that is your own,
The records of your birthright scan,
And learn from yonder sculptured stone
What means the name of Englishman,
With tears - not sprung from grief or shame,
But joy and pride in such a name.
Read yon proud roll of glorious days,
Of captured towns, and combat won!
What need have we of wordy praise
To gild the fame of Wellington,
When every name's a deathless fray,
And every fight a crown of bay?
Here, Nelson's name; who held our fate
In his one hand to make or mar;
And saved his land and made her great,
Before he fell at Trafalgar,
With conquering England's victor-cheers
Loud-ringing in his dying ears.
And here they sleep at last; but these
Whose names you read on yonder wall,
They fought for England overseas
And met swift death at duty's call;
'Comrades,' the simple legend saith,
'In arms, in glory, and in death.'
Here sleeps, a placid form in stone,
Our eyes upon some image fall,
That brings to mind some hero's deed,
His country's flag at last his pall,
Who, living, served his country well,
And 'in his country's service' fell.
And here, where stand in lasting stone,
Brought to the roll-call far and near,
The names of men who lived unknown,
And left no name. Save only here,
Look from the tale of England's dead;
The flags of England wave o'erhead.
Gone now their gallant days of yore,
When, while the rending bugle rung,
Against the shrieking blast of war
Staunchly by stalwart hands upflung,
Proud as the crest that crowns a wave
Swept on the flag that leads the brave.
Shattered and rent by shot and shell,
They watch the daylight wax and wane,
And hear the long Te Deum swell
Along the aisles of England's fane,
When England's sons, in later days,
Win o'er again their fathers' bays.
Silent, they speak; their folds are stirred
That droop, as one whose strength is spent,
And whisper each to each unheard
Above some hero's monument
High dreams of unforgotten years,
That wake our pride, and wake our tears.
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