Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)
 
(See full text.)

I.
BURY the Great Duke
  With an empire’s lamentation.
Let us bury the Great Duke
  To the noise of the mourning of a mighty nation,
Mourning when their leaders fall,        5
Warriors carry the warrior’s pall,
And sorrow darkens hamlet and hall.
 
II.
Where shall we lay the man whom we deplore?
Here, in streaming London’s central roar.
Let the sound of those he wrought for,        10
And the feet of those he fought for,
Echo round his bones forevermore.
 
III.
Lead out the pageant: sad and slow,
As fits an universal woe,
Let the long long procession go,        15
And let the sorrowing crowd about it grow,
And let the mournful martial music blow;
The last great Englishman is low.
 
IV.
Mourn, for to us he seems the last,
Remembering all his greatness in the Past.        20
No more in soldier fashion will he greet
With lifted hand the gazer in the street.
O friends, our chief state-oracle is mute:
Mourn for the man of long-enduring blood,
The statesman-warrior, moderate, resolute,        25
Whole in himself, a common good.
Mourn for the man of amplest influence,
Yet clearest of ambitious crime,
Our greatest yet with least pretence,
Great in council and great in war,        30
Foremost captain of his time,
Rich in saving common-sense,
And, as the greatest only are,
In his simplicity sublime.
O good gray head which all men knew,        35
O voice from which their omens all men drew,
O iron nerve to true occasion true,
O fallen at length that tower of strength
Which stood four-square to all the winds that blew!
Such was he whom we deplore.        40
The long self-sacrifice of life is o’er.
The great World-victor’s victor will be seen no more.
 
V.
All is over and done:
Render thanks to the Giver,
England, for thy son.        45
Let the bell be tolled.
Render thanks to the Giver,
And render him to the mould.
Under the cross of gold
That shines over city and river,        50
There he shall rest forever
Among the wise and the bold.
Let the bell be tolled:
And a reverent people behold
The towering car, the sable steeds:        55
Bright let it be with its blazoned deeds,
Dark in its funeral fold.
Let the bell be tolled:
And a deeper knell in the heart be knolled;
And the sound of the sorrowing anthem rolled        60
Thro’ the dome of the golden cross;
And the volleying cannon thunder his loss;
He knew their voices of old.
For many a time in many a clime
His captain’s-ear has heard them boom        65
Bellowing victory, bellowing doom:
When he with those deep voices wrought,
Guarding realms and kings from shame;
With those deep voices our dead captain taught
The tyrant, and asserts his claim        70
In that dread sound to the great name,
Which he has worn so pure of blame,
In praise and in dispraise the same,
A man of well-attempered frame.
O civic muse, to such a name,        75
To such a name for ages long,
To such a name,
Preserve a broad approach of fame,
And ever-echoing avenues of song.
 
VI.
Who is he that cometh, like an honored guest,
        80
With banner and with music, with soldier and with priest,
With a nation weeping, and breaking on my rest?
Mighty Seaman, this is he
Was great by land as thou by sea.
Thine island loves thee well, thou famous man,        85
The greatest sailor since our world began.
Now, to the roll of muffled drums,
To thee the greatest soldier comes;
For this is he
Was great by land as thou by sea;        90
His foes were thine; he kept us free;
O give him welcome, this is he
Worthy of our gorgeous rites,
And worthy to be laid by thee;
For this is England’s greatest son,        95
He that gained a hundred fights,
Nor ever lost an English gun;
This is he that far away
Against the myriads of Assaye
Clashed with his fiery few and won;        100
And underneath another sun,
Warring on a later day,
Round affrighted Lisbon drew
The treble works, the vast designs
Of his labored rampart-lines,        105
Where he greatly stood at bay,
Whence he issued forth anew,
And ever great and greater grew,
Beating from the wasted vines
Back to France her banded swarms,        110
Back to France with countless blows,
Till o’er the hills her eagles flew
Beyond the Pyrenean pines,
Followed up in valley and glen
With blare of bugle, clamor of men,        115
Roll of cannon and clash of arms,
And England pouring on her foes.
Such a war had such a close.
Again their ravening eagle rose
In anger, wheeled on Europe-shadowing wings,        120
And barking for the thrones of kings;
Till one that sought but Duty’s iron crown
On that loud sabbath shook the spoiler down;
A day of onsets of despair!
Dashed on every rocky square        125
Their surging charges foamed themselves away;
Last, the Prussian trumpet blew;
Through the long-tormented air
Heaven flashed a sudden jubilant ray,
And down we swept and charged and overthrew.        130
So great a soldier taught us there,
What long-enduring hearts could do
In that world-earthquake, Waterloo!
Mighty Seaman, tender and true,
And pure as he from taint of craven guile,        135
O saviour of the silver-coasted isle,
O shaker of the Baltic and the Nile,
If aught of things that here befall
Touch a spirit among things divine,
If love of country move thee there at all,        140
Be glad, because his bones are laid by thine!
And thro’ the centuries let a people’s voice
In full acclaim,
A people’s voice,
The proof and echo of all human fame,        145
A people’s voice, when they rejoice
At civic revel and pomp and game,
Attest their great commander’s claim
With honor, honor, honor, honor to him,
Eternal honor to his name.        150
 
VII.
*        *        *        *        *
Remember him who led your hosts;
He bade you guard the sacred coasts.
Your cannons moulder on the seaward wall;
His voice is silent in your council-hall
Forever; and, whatever tempests lower,        155
Forever silent; even if they broke
In thunder, silent; yet remember all
He spoke among you, and the Man who spoke;
Who never sold the truth to serve the hour,
Nor paltered with Eternal God for power;        160
Who let the turbid streams of rumor flow
Thro’ either babbling world of high and low;
Whose life was work, whose language rife
With rugged maxims hewn from life;
Who never spoke against a foe;        165
Whose eighty winters freeze with one rebuke
All great self-seekers trampling on the right:
Truth-teller was our England’s Alfred named;
Truth-lover was our English Duke;
Whatever record leap to light,        170
He never shall be shamed.
*        *        *        *        *
Hush, the Dead March wails in the people’s ears:
The dark crowd moves, and there are sobs and tears:
The black earth yawns: the mortal disappears;
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;        175
He is gone who seemed so great.—
Gone; but nothing can bereave him
Of the force he made his own
Being here, and we believe him
Something far advanced in State,        180
And that he wears a truer crown
Than any wreath that man can weave him.
Speak no more of his renown,
Lay your earthly fancies down,
And in the vast cathedral leave him.        185
God accept him, Christ receive him.
 
 
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