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Alfred’s Song poem – Alfred Austin


In the Beginning when, out of darkness,

The Earth, the Heaven,

The stars, the seasons,

The mighty mainland,

And whale-ploughed water,

By God the Maker

Were formed and fashioned,

Then God made England.

He made it shapely,

With land-locked inlets,

And gray-green nesses;

With rivers roaming

From fair-leafed forests

Through windless valleys,

Past plain and pasture,

To sloping shingle:

Thus God made England.

Then like to the long-backed bounding billows,

That foam and follow

In rolling ridges,

Before and after,

To bluff and headland,

Hither there tided

The loose-limbed Briton,

The lording Roman,

And strong on his oars the sea-borne Saxon,

And now the Norsemen

Who hard with Alfred

Wrestle for England.

But onward and forward,

In far days fairer,

I see this England

Made one and mighty:

Mighty and master

Of all within it.

Mighty and master

Of men high-seated,

Of free-necked labour,

Lowland and upland,

And corn and cattle,

And ploughland peaceful,

Of happy homesteads

That warmly nestle

In holt and hollow.

This is the England,

In fair days forward,

I see and sing of.

Then, mighty and master of all within her,

Of Celt and Briton,

Angle and Frisian,

Saxon and Norseman,

Shall England plough, like the whale and walrus,

The roaring ridges

Of foam-necked water,

With long-oared warships

And keels high-beakëd;

And never a foeman,

Eastward or westward,

Shall dare to raven

Her salt-sea inlets,

Her grim gray nesses,

But, swift at the sight of her rearing cradles,

Shall scud and scatter,

Like wild geese fleeing

‘Twixt wave and welkin,

Away from the dread of the shrilling weapons

Of foam-fenced England!


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