Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Burial Of General Craufurd At Ciudad Rodrigo - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

They laid him down, - the soldier slain in war, -
Fresh from the midnight flame, the midnight roar,
To sleep his last proud sleep of victory
Beside the wall new-won:
The comrade of the bivouac and the field,
For ever swift to strike and slow to yield, -
Gone to a grave well meet for such as he
Now his last fight was done.

Hard was he, hard and harsh in word and deed,
The sturdy stuff the northern islands breed,
He, English of the English, man of men,
Foremost, where all were brave,
His keen, high voice, so full of fire and pride,
Rang out the clearest in the hour he died,
Cheering the men he ne'er should lead again, -
Who bore him to his grave.

They knew him, - from Corunna's dark retreat,
When o'er the bare, bleak highways swept with sleet
He urged them on, in cold, curt, soldier way,
From shame and rout and death,
To that wild hour, when, as he stood serene,
Proudly alone in that tumultuous scene,
In the forefront of fierce victorious fray
He yielded up his breath.

His eyes were closed on victory and defeat;
Called from the midst of all he held so sweet,
He had not heard the thunder of their cheers
Ring o'er the walls they won,
When those he used to lead in fields of fight
Followed him to his grave upon the height,
With stern eyes wet with unaccustomed tears
For a brave soldier gone.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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