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

October 21

Trafalgar Day

By E. Nesbit (1858–1924)

  • The greatest English naval victory of the Napoleonic wars, fought on Oct. 21, 1805. The English commander, Lord Nelson, was killed.

  • LAURELS, bring laurels, sheaves on sheaves,

    Till England’s boughs are bare of leaves!

    Soon comes the lower more rare, more dear

    Than any laurel this year weaves—

    The Aloe of the hundredth year

    Since from the smoke of Trafalgar

    He passed to where the heroes are,

    Nelson, who passed and yet is here,

    Whose dust is fire beneath our feet,

    Whose memory mans our fleet.

    Laurels, bring laurels, since they hold

    His England’s tears in each green fold,

    His England’s joy, his England’s pride,

    His England’s glories manifold.

    Yet what was Victory since he died?

    And what was Death since he lives yet,

    Above a Nation’s worship set,

    Above her heroes glorified?—

    Nelson, who made our flag a star

    To lead where Victories are!