Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Young Windebank

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Margaret L. Woods

Young Windebank

THEY shot young Windebank just here,

By Merton, where the sun

Strikes on the wall. ’T was in a year

Of blood the deed was done.

At morning from the meadows dim

He watched them dig his grave.

Was this in truth the end for him,

The well-beloved and brave?

He marched with soldier scarf and sword,

Set free to die that day,

And free to speak once more the word

That marshalled men obey.

But silent on the silent band,

That faced him stern as death,

He looked, and on the summer land,

And on the grave beneath.

Then with a sudden smile and proud

He waved his plume, and cried,

“The king! the king!” and laughed aloud,

“The king! the king!” and died.

Let none affirm he vainly fell,

And paid the barren cost

Of having loved and served too well

A poor cause and a lost.

He in the soul’s eternal cause

Went forth as martyrs must—

The kings who make the spirit laws

And rule us from the dust;

Whose wills unshaken by the breath

Of adverse Fate endure,

To give us honor strong as death

And loyal love as sure.