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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Francis Turner Palgrave (1824–1897)

A Danish Barrow

On the East Devon Coast

LIE still, old Dane, below thy heap!

A sturdy-back and sturdy-limb,

Whoe’er he was, I warrant him

Upon whose mound the single sheep

Browses and tinkles in the sun,

Within the narrow vale alone.

Lie still, old Dane! This restful scene

Suits well thy centuries of sleep:

The soft brown roots above thee creep,

The lotus flaunts his ruddy sheen,

And—vain memento of the spot—

The turquoise-eyed forget-me-not.

Lie still! Thy mother-land herself

Would know thee not again: no more

The raven from the northern shore

Hails the bold crew to push for pelf,

Through fire and blood and slaughtered kings,

’Neath the black terror of his wings.

And thou—thy very name is lost!

The peasant only knows that here

Bold Alfred scooped thy flinty bier,

And prayed a foeman’s prayer, and tost

His auburn head, and said, “One more

Of England’s foes guards England’s shore;”—

And turned and passed to other feats,

And left thee in thine iron robe,

To circle with the circling globe;

While Time’s corrosive dewdrop eats

The giant warrior to a crust

Of earth in earth, and rust in rust.

So lie; and let the children play

And sit like flowers upon thy grave

And crown with flowers,—that hardly have

A briefer blooming-tide than they,—

By hurrying years urged on to rest,

As thou within the Mother’s breast.