Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
 
III. War
A Danish Barrow
Francis Turner Palgrave (1824–1897)
 
On the East Devon Coast

LIE still, old Dane, below thy heap!
  A sturdy-back and sturdy-limb,
  Whoe’er he was, I warrant him
Upon whose mound the single sheep
  Browses and tinkles in the sun,        5
  Within the narrow vale alone.
 
Lie still, old Dane! This restful scene
  Suits well thy centuries of sleep:
  The soft brown roots above thee creep,
The lotus flaunts his ruddy sheen,        10
  And,—vain memento of the spot,—
  The turquoise-eyed forget-me-not.
 
Lie still! Thy mother-land herself
  Would know thee not again: no more
  The Raven from the northern shore        15
Hails the bold crew to push for pelf,
  Through fire and blood and slaughtered kings
  ’Neath the black terror of his wings.
 
And thou,—thy very name is lost!
  The peasant only knows that here        20
  Bold Alfred scooped thy flinty bier,
And prayed a foeman’s prayer, and tost
  His auburn head, and said, “One more
  Of England’s foes guards England’s shore,”
 
And turned and passed to other feats,        25
  And left thee in thine iron robe,
  To circle with the circling globe,
While Time’s corrosive dewdrop eats
  The giant warrior to a crust
  Of earth in earth, and rust in rust.        30
 
So lie: and let the children play
  And sit like flowers upon thy grave
  And crown with flowers,—that hardly have
A briefer blooming-tide than they;—
  By hurrying years urged on to rest,        35
  As thou within the Mother’s breast.
 
 
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