Simon de Montfort

Moonrise gleams above the mountain, sunset glimmers through the wood,
Dreary float King Henry's banners, silent o'er the field of blood;
Pause the spears of fiery Edward, fierce before the heap of dead,
Where my foemen's shields are cloven, and my wearied sword is red.
At the dawn my sons were round me, and before yon armed show,
Gave our souls to the eternal, and our bodies to the foe;
One by one they fell around me, with my banner over all,
Falling sword in hand like heroes, falling even as I shall fall.
I have ruled a mighty people I have held a captive King,
I have tasted pride and glory, all that love and power can bring;
Now in my old age and sorrow I must take the field again,
And my cherished work is shattered, and my dearest lives are slain.
Forward, all ye thankless yeomen, onward, all ye Norman spears,
Give me in my breast the guerdon of a score of toiling years!
Onward every crested tyrant, onward every armed slave,
And I ask for nothing of you, nothing but a soldier's grave.
Yet amid the gloom of failure, the advancing shade of death
Flutters in my soul a whisper, like a meadow breeze's breath.
See the fruits of all thy labour far beyond this gloomy plain —
Never man that died for justice gave his life and blood in vain.
And a dark mist wraps the foemen, and in golden light on high
Dawn strange visions seldom given save to men about to die;
From the wild North, whence my love came, comes a people fierce and brave,
That shall drive yon haughty Edward wearied to a tyrant's grave.
Through the storms of feudal battle, through the gloom of despot's reign,
'Spite of king, and priest, and baron, Freedom's fire breaks out again;
Freedom's banner flames and flutters, Freedom's war cries rise and ring,
Angry mobs and stern battalions menacing a perjured King;
And a soldier ruling England, as I ruled it in my day,
Rough and stormy voice of Freedom spoke in faction and in fray;
And a second tyrant striving to uphold a priestly power,
Flying baffled o'er the ocean in a dark and stormy hour;
And a purer kinghood ruling lawfully the times to be,
And a nobler future dawning for the country of the free,
Far beyond yon sceptred puppet, far beyond his bolder son,
Dawns the promise of fulfilment for the work that I have done;
Onward! every bandit weapon, onward! every hireling spear,
For my dream is fading yonder and my hours are numbered here.
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