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

January 24

Sidney Godolphin

By Clinton Scollard (1860–1932)

  • A young man of fine family and great promise. He was intimate with Falkland and Clarendon and is mentioned by Hobbes in the dedication of his “Leviathan” to his brother, Francis Godolphin. He had great literary taste and left some poems which have never been collected. On the breaking out of the Civil War he joined the royalist troops and was killed Jan. 24, 1642, in a skirmish at Chagford in Devonshire.

  • THEY rode from the camp at morn

    With clash of sword and spur.

    The birds were loud in the thorn,

    The sky was an azure blur.

    A gallant show they made

    That warm noontide of the year,

    Led on by a dashing blade,

    By the poet-cavalier.

    They laughed through the leafy lanes,

    The long lanes of Dartmoor;

    And they sang their soldier strains,

    Pledged “death” to the Roundhead boor;

    Then they came at the middle day

    To a hamlet quaint and brown

    Where the hated troopers lay,

    And they cheered for the King and crown.

    They fought in the fervid heat,

    Fought fearlessly and well,

    But low at the foeman’s feet

    Their valorous leader fell.

    Full on his fair young face

    The blinding sun beat down;

    In the morn of his manly grace

    He died for the King and crown.

    Oh the pitiless blow,

    The vengeance-thrust of strife,

    That blotted the golden glow

    From the sky of his glad, brave life!

    The glorious promise gone;—

    Night with its grim black frown!

    Never again the dawn,

    And all for the King and crown.

    Hidden his sad fate now

    In the sealed book of the years;

    Few are the heads that bow,

    Or the eyes that brim with tears,

    Reading ’twixt blots and stains

    From a musty tome that saith

    How he rode through the Dartmoor lanes

    To his woful, dauntless death.

    But I, in the summer’s prime,

    From that lovely leafy land

    Look back to the olden time

    And the leal and loyal band.

    I see them dash along,—

    I hear them charge and cheer,

    And my heart goes out in a song

    To the poet-cavalier.