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James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

November 18

Burial of the Duke of Wellington

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)

From “Ode on the Death of the Duke”
November 18, 1852

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,

Warriors carry the warrior’s pall,

And sorrow darkens hamlet and hall.

Where shall we lay the man whom we deplore?

Here, in streaming London’s central roar.

Let the sound of those he wrought for,

And the feet of those he fought for,

Echo round his bones for evermore.

Lead out the pageant: sad and slow,

As fits an universal woe.

Let the long, long procession go,

And let the sorrowing crowd about it grow.

And let the mournful martial music blow;

The last great Englishman is low.

Mourn, for to us he seems the last,

Remembering all his greatness in the Past.

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,

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,

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,

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.

The long self-sacrifice of life is o’er.

The great World-victor’s victor will be seen no more.

All is over and done:

Render thanks to the Giver,

England, for thy son.

Let the bell be toll’d.

Render thanks to the Giver,

And render him to the mould.

Under the cross of gold

That shines over city and river,

There he shall rest for ever

Among the wise and the bold.

Let the bell be toll’d:

And a reverent people behold

The towering car, the sable steeds:

Bright let it be with its blazon’d deeds,

Dark in its funeral fold.

Let the bell be toll’d:

And a deeper knell in the heart be knoll’d;

And the sound of the sorrowing anthem roll’d

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

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

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-attemper’d fame.

O civic muse, to such a name,

To such a name for ages long,

To such a name,

Preserve a broad approach of fame,

And ever-echoing avenues of song.