Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1159. To England
 
By Charles Leonard Moore
 
 
NOW England lessens on my sight;
  The bastioned front of Wales,
Discolored and indefinite,
  There like a cloud-wreath sails:
A league, and all those thronging hills        5
  Must sink beneath the sea;
But while one touch of Memory thrills,
  They yet shall stay with me.
 
I claim no birthright in yon sod,
  Though thence my blood and name;        10
My sires another region trod,
  Fought for another fame;
Yet a son’s tear this moment wrongs
  My eager watching eyes,
Land of the lordliest deeds and songs        15
  Since Greece was great and wise!
 
Thou hedgerow thing that queenest the Earth,
  What magic hast?—what art?
A thousand years of work and worth
  Are clustered at thy heart:        20
The ghosts of those that made thee free
  To throng thy hearth are wont;
And as thy richest reliquary
  Thou wearest thy Abbey’s front!
 
Aye, ere my distance is complete        25
  I see thy heroes come
And crowd yon shadowy mountain seat,
  Still guardians of their home;
Thy Drake, thy Nelson, and thy Bruce
  Glow out o’er dusky tides;        30
The rival Roses blend in truce,
  And King with Roundhead rides.
 
And with these phantoms born to last,
  A storm of music breaks;
And bards, pavilioned in the past,—        35
  Each from his tomb awakes!
The ring and glitter of thy swords,
  Thy lovers’ bloom and breath,
By them transmuted into words,
  Redeem the world from death.        40
 
My path is West! My heart before
  Bounds o’er the dancing wave;
Yet something ’s left I must deplore—
  A magic wild and grave:
Though Honor live and Romance dwell        45
  By mine own streams and woods,
Yet not in spire and keep so well
  Are built such lofty moods.
 
England, perchance our love were more
  If we were matched and met        50
In battle squadron on the shore,
  Or here on ocean set:
How were all other banners furled
  If that great duel rose!
For we alone in all the world        55
  Are worthy to be foes.
 
If we should fail or you should fly,
  ’T were but a twinned disgrace,
For both are bound to bear on high
  The laurels of one race:—        60
No fear! new blooms shall bud above
  Upon the ancient wreath,
For both can gentle be to Love,
  And insolent to Death.
 
Land of the lion-hearted brood,        65
  I breathe a last adieu;
To Her who reigns across the flood
  My loyalty is true:
But with my service to her o’er,
  Thou, England, ownest the rest,        70
For I must worship and adore
  Whate’er is brave and best.
 

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