Henry James Pye

(20 February 1745 – 11 August 1813 / London, England)

The War-Elegies Of Tyrtæus, Imitated: Elegy Ii. - Poem by Henry James Pye

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How long in sloth's inglorious fetters bound
Slumber the brave?—The soft enchantment break.
Britons to arms!—The taunting nations round
Call forth th'ingenuous blush on manhood's cheek.
Calmly ye sit as in the lap of peace,
Tho' loud the din of battle round you roars,
Tho' threat'ning storms on every side encrease,
And the proud Gaul insults your wave-worn shores.
Shake off this torpid gloom—arouse, for shame,
And loose your fury on the barbarous foe;
Full in the radiant front of battle flame,
And even in death the bolt of vengeance throw.
For country, parents, children, blooming wife,
Let the young hero meet the foe elate,
Not fondly anxious for a fleeting life
Fore-doom'd th'inevitable prey of fate.
Grasp the bright sword, and rush to join the fight,
Since none can 'scape th'impartial stroke of death;
Oft from the field the recreant wings his flight
To yield on beds of down his coward breath.
To him a tear his country never gave,
No general grief marks his unhallow'd tomb;
While bending pensive o'er the warrior's grave
A sorrowing nation mourns his timeless doom.
His memory, when dead, by all deplor'd,
His country's guardian, and his kindred's boast:
When living, as a demi-god ador'd,
His breast a fortress, and his arm an host.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 27, 2010



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