Ancient heroes, chiefs victorious,1
Long have these been hail’d sublime :2
Say, hath Britain none as glorious3
For the tongues of future time ?4
Sullen years, and silence jealous,5
Darken many a famous brow ;6
Farthest ages shall be zealous7
Honouring him we honour now.8
And while human hearts shall cherish9
This our land’s ennobled soil,10
His renown shall never perish11
Who redeem’d it best from spoil.12
Language, Freedom, old Uprightness,13
All our fathers were, and won,14
All has gain’d its crowning brightness15
In the praise of Wellington.16
Who ’mid battles’ booming thunder17
E’er with calmer might arose,18
Smiting down in helpless wonder19
Hosts that scorn’d all meaner foes ?20
When the gather’d East defied him ;21
Swarthy kings at far Assaye,22
Fewer those who fought beside him23
Than the dead that round them
But how wan that Indian story25
Fades before the loftier tale,26
When all Europe, pale and gory,27
All but England, seem’d to quail.28
Tagus, Douro, leaping shouted29
Tow’rd Busaco’s crest of rock,30
When they saw their plunderers routed31
In the Briton’s battle-shock.32
Haught Iberia’s stately regions,33
Seats of laurell’d Rome’s command,34
Ye have seen Napoleon’s legions35
Fly before the island band.36
But ’twas not alone the spirit,37
Known so wide on shore and sea,38
Not the blood which we inherit,39
Could alone the nations free.40
’Twas the bright unwavering Reason,41
One great soul’s reflection sage,42
That undid the despot’s treason,43
And befool’d his wildest rage.44
Thus with blood was Ebro darken’d,45
Storm’d Pyrene’s cliffs of snow,46
Till their Paris, while it harken’d,47
Felt each coming step a blow.48
Graves would tell, with triumph glad-[den’d,49
If no living voice were true,50
How the lord of nations, madden’d,51
Found his doom at Waterloo.52
Still amid the whirl of terror,53
Smooth and strong as moves the [sun,54
Clear from passion, sure from error,55
Sway’d the soul of Wellington.56
Him no huge adventurous raving,57
Him no storm of pride or wrath,58
Him no sordid hunger’s craving,59
Turn’d aside from duty’s path.60
Him ’mid warfare’s dread commotion,61
Might the weak for safety trust ;62
Him his patriot life’s devotion63
Teaches all to name—the Just.64
He with simple mild sedateness65
All an empire’s honours bears,66
Yet they leave his own pure greatness67
More than all the robes it wears.68
Round the mountain pine of ages69
Summer flowers may creep and twine,70
Till the strife that winter wages71
Cuts them down, but not the pine.72
Friend of Peace, of Truth, and Order,73
Seeking right with steadfast mind,74
O’er his will a sleepless warder,75
Thus he firmly rules mankind.76
True to all, to all benignant,77
Bold against the rage of all,78
Well can he with voice indignant,79
Public fraud and crime appal.80
As a mole by seas assaulted,81
Breasts at once and calms the waves,82
So ’mid those from right revolted,83
He subdues the souls he braves.84
Britain, fair and stainless mother85
Of the Bold, the Just, the Wise, 86
Seldom hast thou known another,87
Brighten thus thy fostering skies!88
While so much is praised untruly,89
Scarce his fame can struggle forth ;90
Years to come shall reverence duly91
All the Man’s unboastful worth.92