The Roman Centurion’s Song

Roman Occupation of Britain, A.D. 300

    LEGATE, I had the news last night–my cohort ordered home
    By ships to Portus Itius and thence by road to Rome.
    I’ve marched the companies aboard, the arms are stowed below;
    Now let another take my sword. Command me not to go!
    I’ve served in Britain forty years, from Vectis to the Wall.
    I have none other home than this, nor any life at all.
    Last night I did not understand, but, now the hour draws near
    That calls me to my native land, I feel that land is here.
    Here where men say my name was made, here where my work was done;
    Here where my dearest dead are laid–my wife–my wife and son;
    Here where time, custom, grief and toil, age, memory, service, love,
    Have rooted me in British soil. Ah, how can I remove?
    For me this land, that sea, these airs, those folk and fields suffice.
    What purple Southern pomp can match our changeful Northern skies,
    Black with December snows unshed or pearled with August haze–
    The clanging arch of steel-grey March, or June’s long-lighted days?
    You’ll follow widening Rodanus till vine and olive lean
    Aslant before the sunny breeze that sweeps Nemausus clean
    To Arelate’s triple gate: but let me linger on,
    Here where our stiff-necked British oaks confront Euroclydon!
    You’ll take the old Aurelian Road through shore-descending pines
    Where, blue as any peacock’s neck, the Tyrrhene Ocean shines.
    You’ll go where laurel crowns are won, but–will you e’er forget
    The scent of hawthorn in the sun, or bracken in the wet?
    Let me work here for Britain’s sake–at any task you will–
    A marsh to drain, a road to make or native troops to drill.
    Some Western camp (I know the Pict) or granite Border keep,
    Mid seas of heather derelict, where our old messmates sleep.
    Legate, I come to you in tears–My cohort ordered home!
    I’ve served in Britain forty years. What should I do in Rome?
    Here is my heart, my soul, my mind–the only life I know,
    I cannot leave it all behind. Command me not to go!

The Pirates in England

Saxon Invasion, A.D. 400-600

    WHEN Rome was rotten-ripe to her fall,
    And the sceptre passed from her hand,
    The pestilent Picts leaped over the wall
    To harry the English land.
    The little dark men of the mountain and waste,
    So quick to laughter and tears,
    They came panting with hate and haste
    For the loot of five hundred years.
    They killed the trader, they sacked the shops,
    They ruined temple and town–
    They swept like wolves through the standing crops
    Crying that Rome was down.
    They wiped out all that they could find
    Of beauty and strength and worth,
    But they could not wipe out the Viking’s Wind
    That brings the ships from the North.
    They could not wipe out the North-East gales
    Nor what those gales set free–
    The pirate ships with their close-reefed sails,
    Leaping from sea to sea.
    They had forgotten the shield-hung hull
    Seen nearer and more plain,
    Dipping into the troughs like a gull,
    And gull-like rising again–
    The painted eyes that glare and frown
    In the high snake-headed stem,
    Searching the beach while her sail comes down,
    They had forgotten them!
    There was no Count of the Saxon Shore
    To meet her hand to hand,
    As she took the beach with a grind and a roar,
    And the pirates rushed inland!

The Dane-Geld

A.D. 980-1016

    IT is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
    To call upon a neighbour and to say:–
    “We invaded you last night–we are quite prepared to fight,
    Unless you pay us cash to go away.”
    And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
    And the people who ask it explain
    That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
    And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!
    It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation,
    To puff and look important and to say:–
    “Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
    We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”
    And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
    But we’ve proved it again and again,
    That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
    You never get rid of the Dane.
    It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
    For fear they should succumb and go astray;
    So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
    You will find it better policy to say:–
    “We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
    Nor matter how trifling the cost;
    For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
    And the nation that plays it is lost!”

The Anvil

Norman Conquest, 1066

    ENGLAND’S on the anvil–hear the hammers ring–
    Clanging from the Severn to the Tyne!
    Never was a blacksmith like our Norman King–
    England’s being hammered, hammered, hammered into line.
    England’s on the anvil! Heavy are the blows!
    (But the work will be a marvel when it’s done.)
    Little bits of Kingdoms cannot stand against their foes.
    England’s being hammered, hammered, hammered into one!
    There shall be one people–it shall serve one Lord–
    (Neither Priest nor Baron shall escape!)
    It shall have one speech and law, soul and strength and sword.
    England’s being hammered, hammered, hammered into shape!

“In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821),
Greg L-W.
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British Politicians with pens and treachery, in pursuit of their own agenda and greed, have done more damage to the liberty, freedoms, rights and democracy of the British peoples than any army in over 1,000 years.

The disastrous effects of British politicians selling Britain into the thrall of foreign rule by the EU for their own personal rewards has damaged the well-being of Britain more than the armies of Hitler and the Franco – German – Italian axis of 1939 – 1945.

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