Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
June 16
The Death of Marlborough
By George Walter Thornbury (1828–1876)
          John Churchill, First Duke of Malborough, died June 16, 1772.

THE SUN shines on the chamber wall,
  The sun shines through the trees,
Now, though unshaken by the wind,
  The leaves fall ceaselessly;
The bells from Woodstock’s steeple        5
  Shake Blenheim’s fading bough.
“This day you won Malplaquet,”—
  “Aye, something then, but now!”
They lead the old man to a chair,
  Wandering, pale and weak;        10
His thin lips move—so faint the sound
  You scarce can hear him speak.
They lift a picture from the wall,
  Bold eyes and swelling brow;
“The day you won Malplaquet,”—        15
  “Aye, something then, but now!”
They reach him down a rusty sword,
  In faded velvet sheath;
The old man drops the heavy blade,
  And mutters ’tween his teeth;        20
There’s sorrow in his fading eye,
  And pain upon his brow;
“With this you won Malplaquet,”—
  “Aye, something then, but now!”
Another year, a stream of lights        25
  Flows down the avenue;
A mile of mourners, sable clad,
  Walk weeping two by two;
The steward looks into the grave
  With sad and downcast brow;        30
“This day he won Malplaquet,—
  Aye, something then, but now!”

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