11 Felicia Dorothea Hemans, “England’s Dead” (1822)

SON of the Ocean Isle!

Where sleep your mighty dead?

Show me what high and stately pile

Is reared o’er Glory’s bed.


Go, stranger! track the deep—          5

Free, free the white sail spread!

Wave may not foam, nor wild wind sweep,

Where rest not England’s dead.


On Egypt’s burning plains,

By the pyramid o’erswayed,              10

With fearful power the noonday reigns,

And the palm-trees yield no shade;—


But let the angry sun

From heaven look fiercely red,

Unfelt by those whose task is done!—               15

There slumber England’s dead.


The hurricane hath might

Along the Indian shore,

And far by Ganges’ banks at night

Is heard the tiger’s roar;—                20


But let the sound roll on!

It hath no tone of dread

For those that from their toils are gone,—

There slumber England’s dead.


Loud rush the torrent-floods              25

The Western wilds among,

And free, in green Columbia’s woods,

The hunter’s bow is strung;—


But let the floods rush on!

Let the arrow’s flight be sped!           30

Why should they reck whose task is done?—

There slumber England’s dead.


The mountain-storms rise high

In the snowy Pyrenees,

And toss the pine-boughs through the sky          35

Like rose-leaves on the breeze;—


But let the storm rage on!

Let the fresh wreaths be shed!

For the Roncesvalles’ field is won,—

There slumber England’s dead.          40


On the frozen deep’s repose

’Tis a dark and dreadful hour,

When round the ship the ice-fields close,

And the northern night-clouds lour;—


But let the ice drift on!         45

Let the cold-blue desert spread!

Their course with mast and flag is done,—

Even there sleep England’s dead.


The warlike of the isles,

The men of field and wave!               50

Are not the rocks their funeral piles,

The seas and shores their grave?


Go, stranger! track the deep—

Free, free the white sail spread!

Wave may not foam, nor wild wind sweep,           55

Where rest not England’s dead.



Felicia Dorothea Hemans, "England's Dead" (1822) Copyright © by mea241. All Rights Reserved.

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