Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
November 5
Inkerman
By Richard Chenevix Trench (1807–1886)
 
          In this battle in the Crimean War, fought on Nov. 5, 1854, the Allies defeated the Russians who had made an unexpected attack on the camp.

CHEERLY with us that great November morn
  Rose, as I trace its features in my mind;
A day that in the lap of winter born,
  Yet told of autumn scarcely left behind.
 
And we by many a hearth in all the land,        5
  Whom quiet sleep had lapped the calm night through,
Changed greetings, lip with lip, and hand to hand,
  Old greetings, but which love makes ever new.
 
Then, as the day brought with it sweet release
  From this world’s care, with timely feet we trod        10
The customary paths of blessed peace,
  We worshipped in the temples of our God;
 
And when the sun had travelled his brief arc,
  Drew round our hearths again in thankful ease;
With pleasant light we chased away the dark,        15
  We sat at eve with children round our knees.
 
So fared this day with us:—but how with you?
  What, gallant hosts of England, was your cheer,
Who numbered hearts as gentle and as true
  As any kneeling at our altars here?        20
 
From cheerless watches on the cold dank ground
  Startled, ye felt a foe on every side;
With mist and gloom and deaths encompassed round,
  With even to perish in the light denied.
 
And that same season of our genial ease,        25
  It was your very agony of strife;
While each of those our golden moments sees
  With you the ebbing of some noble life.
 
’Mid dark ravines, by precipices vast,
  Did there and here your dreadful conflict sway;        30
No Sabbath day’s light work to quell at last
  The fearful odds of that unequal fray.
 
Oh “hope” of England, only not “forlorn,”
  Because ye never your own hope resigned,
But in worst case, beleaguered, overborne,        35
  Did help in God and in your own selves find;
 
We greet you o’er the waves, as from this time
  Men, to the meanest and the least of whom,
In reverence of fortitude sublime,
  We would rise up, and yield respectful room:        40
 
We greet you o’er the waves, nor doubt to say,
  Our Sabbath setting side by side with yours,
Yours was the better and the nobler day,
  And days like it have made that ours endures.
 
 
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