quotes_nov21_2004.htm

(Nov 21st to 27th)



Format: Triple

For me this land, that sea, these airs, those folk and fields suffice.
What purple Southern pomp can match our changeful Northern skies,
Black with December snows unshed, or pearled with August haze –
The clanging arch of steel-grey March, or June’s long-lighted days ?

  

This is from ‘The Roman Centurion’s Song’, set in AD 300, during the Roman occupation of Britain. The poem tells of the anguish of a soldier who has been ordered ‘home’ to Rome, after forty years of service in Britain.

Like the two poems which follow, it was one of the ‘Songs written for C R L Fletcher’s A School History of England (1911).


At two o’clock in the morning, if you open your window and listen,
You will hear the feet of the Wind that is going to call the sun.
And the trees in the shadow rustle and the trees in the moonlight rustle,
And though it is deep, dark night, you feel that the night is done.

   

This is from ‘The Dawn Wind’, another of the songs written for Fletcher’s A School History of England.

It is set in the 15th Century, when men are awakening from a long, bad dream of servitude, and starting to feel that their souls are their own.


`Twas not while England’s sword unsheathed
Put half a world to flight,
Nor while her new-built cities breathed
Secure behind her might;
Nor while she poured from Pole to Line
Treasure and ships and men –
These worshippers at freedom’s shrine
They did not quit her then!

   

This is the first verse of ‘The American Rebellion’ (1776), another of the songs written for Fletcher’s A School History of England.

Before the rebellion, it was not until their other possible enemies, the French, and the Spanish, had been scattered by England’s might, that the American colonies could be bold enough to fight for independence. In the aftermath many dead soldiers of both sides lie in their graves; but above, in both lands, the awakening flowers of the new spring are gay with new life.

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