Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THOUGHTS AFTER VIRGIL, by CHARLES WILLIAM BRODRIBB

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THOUGHTS AFTER VIRGIL, by                
First Line: Strength by strength this nation of ours grew surely to greatness
Last Line: But build fraternal charities on righteous enactment.
Subject(s): Courts & Courtiers; England; Royal Court Life; Royalty; Kings; Queens; English

Strength by strength this nation of ours grew surely to greatness,
Her kings and mariners, merchants and moot-loving elders
All"sprung of earth's first blood," since genius housing in Alfred,
Lawgiver and chronicler, got a race of princely descendants
Famed to this hour—those Plantagenets whose patriot Edwards
And Henrys led anon to yet ampler Tudor achievements
Summed up in Elizabeth, queen of circumfluous ocean,
Drake's inspirer abroad and Spenser's sovran in Elfland.
How celebrate Oliver trampling through regal apartments,
Wanting a crown? Him presbyteries and him the tiara'd
Papacy feared; him Pict and Kern—stout yeoman of Ely.
Or what of our Churchill's genitor, great Marlborough, earning
Splendid award, the palatial abode, that victory brought him?
Or Chatham and his child, tyranny's untiring opponent,
Pilot in angry weather while Nelson's flagship afloat was?
Or the men of goodwill like Clarkson, slavery haters,
Bentham of utilitarian aim, and all the reformers?
Those generous liberal fervours that backed an awakened
Tuscany and redshirt Garibaldi's homecoming exiles?
Add manifold Gladstone, free-trade's financier, Ireland's
Patron—a grand old man, were grandeur claim to remembrance.
Add Campbell the Banner-bearer, South Africa's archfriend,
Timely reconciled 'twixt peoples parted asunder,
His bold experiment the pattern thereafter of empire!
Well shall others on paper erect their fairy republics,
Move men as on chessboards and plan revolution as artists,
Make blue-prints of a world-paradise, or found the millennium
On beehive politics or termite's boring obedience.
Thine, Briton, is to sit in the Commons and hear the debate out,
In patience to listen to others representative also
Like thee of enfranchised millions; not mindless of ordered
Freedom, a boon come down from a long-tried wisdom of ages;
Howso strongly running the passions of party, to rein them;
Not to let envy or ire stifle man's kindlier instincts,
But build fraternal charities on righteous enactment.

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