Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
 
Wiltshire
The Wiltshire Cairn
Walter Thornbury (1828–1876)
 
CARADOC with the golden torque,
  Amber anklets and sword of bronze,
A wolf-skin clothing his giant limbs
  Tawny with thirty summers’ suns,
Was slain beneath those great beech-trees        5
  By Roman spearmen, who had found
His last retreat, and burnt his hut,
  And dragged his wife in fetters bound.
 
Now see the mound, that scarcely swells
  Above the level of the downs,        10
Upon whose summit, dry and sear,
  Ground-thistles spread their purple crowns;
While round it nets the dry crisp thyme
  The bees love so: those old trees wave
Just where the Roman spearmen struck,        15
  And Caradoc had here his grave.
 
’T was fourteen hundred years ago;
  And now the thrush upon the thorn
Sings heedless of that chieftain’s fate;
  And on this golden July morn        20
A little butterfly, all blue,
  In the mid air is hovering
Around the flowering grass that grows
  Above the ashes of the king.
 
And far away the cornfields stretch        25
  In golden sections, fading dim
To the gray ridge of farther down;
  That burring murmur is the hymn
Of the great conqueror Steam, the chief
  Of new reformers. See that whiff        30
Of flying smoke,—that is the train;
  Fast burrowing in the tunnelled cliff.
 
 
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