Waterloo Day

THIS is the day of our glory; this is our day to weep.
Under her dusty laurels England stirs in her sleep;
Dreams of her days of honour, terrible days that are dead,
Days of the making of story, days when the sword was red,


When all her fate and her future hung on the naked blade,
When by the sword of her children her place in the world was made,
When Honour sounded the trumpet and Valour leapt to obey,
And Heroes bought us the Empire that statesmen would sell to-day.


England, wanton and weary, sunk in a slothful ease,
Has slain in her wars her thousands, but her tens of thousands in peace:
And the cowards grieve for her glory; their glory is in their shame;
They are glad of the moth in her banners, and the rust on her shining name.


Oh, if the gods would send us a balm for our sick, sad years,
Let them send us a sight of the scarlet, and the sound of the guns in our ears!
For valour and faith and honour--these grow where the red flower grows,
And the leaves for the Nation's healing must spring from the blood of her foes.

by Edith Nesbit

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