Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
The Old Cavalier
 
Sir Francis Hastings Doyle
 
 
“FOR our martyr’d Charles I pawn’d my plate,
  For his son I spent my all,
That a churl might dine, and drink my wine,
  And preach in my father’s hall:
That father died on Marston Moor,        5
  My son on Worcester plain;
But the king he turn’d his back on me
  When he got his own again.
 
“The other day, there came, God wot!
  A solemn, pompous ass,        10
Who begged to know if I did not go
  To the sacrifice of Mass:
I told him fairly to his face,
  That in the field of fight
I had shouted loud for Church and King,        15
  When he would have run outright.
 
“He talk’d of the Man of Babylon
  With his rosaries and copes,
As if a Roundhead was n’t worse
  Than half a hundred Popes.        20
I don’t know what the people mean,
  With their horror and affright;
All Papists that I ever knew
  Fought stoutly for the right.
 
“I now am poor and lonely,        25
  This cloak is worn and old,
But yet it warms my loyal heart,
  Through sleet, and rain, and cold,
When I call to mind the Cavaliers,
  Bold Rupert at their head,        30
Bursting through blood and fire, with cries
  That might have wak’d the dead.
 
“Then spur and sword was the battle word,
  And we made their helmets ring,
Howling like madmen, all the while,        35
  For God and for the King.
And though they snuffled psalms, to give
  The Rebel-dogs their due,
When the roaring shot pour’d close and hot
  They were stalwart men and true.        40
 
“On the fatal field of Naseby,
  Where Rupert lost the day
By hanging on the flying crowd
  Like a lion on his prey,
I stood and fought it out, until,        45
  In spite of plate and steel,
The blood that left my veins that day
  Flow’d up above my heel.
 
“And certainly, it made those quail
  Who never quail’d before,        50
To look upon the awful front
  Which Cromwell’s horsemen wore.
I felt that every hope was gone,
  When I saw their squadrons form,
And gather for the final charge        55
  Like the coming of the storm.
 
“Oh! where was Rupert in that hour
  Of danger, toil, and strife?
It would have been to all brave men
  Worth a hundred years of life        60
To have seen that black and gloomy force,
  As it poured down in line,
Met midway by the Royal horse
  And Rupert of the Rhine.
 
“All this is over now, and I        65
  Must travel to the tomb,
Though the king I serv’d has got his own,
  In poverty and gloom.
Well, well, I serv’d him for himself,
  So I must not now complain,        70
But I often wish that I had died
  With my son on Worcester plain.”
 

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