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Woman On The Field Of Battle

Felicia Dorothea Hemans 1793 (Liverpool, Lancashire) – 1835 (Dublin, County Dublin)

Where hath not a woman stood,
Strong in affection's might? a reed, upborne
By an o'er mastering current!

GENTLE and lovely form,
What didst thou here,
When the fierce battle-storm
Bore down the spear?

Banner and shiver'd crest
Beside thee strown,
Tell, that amidst the best,
Thy work was done!

Yet strangely, sadly fair,
O'er the wild scene,
Gleams, through its golden hair,
That brow serene.

Low lies the stately head,–
Earth-bound the free;
How gave those haughty dead
A place to thee?

Slumberer!
thine
early bier
Friends should have crown'd,
Many a flower and tear
Shedding around.

Soft voices, clear and young,
Mingling their swell,
Should o'er thy dust have sung
Earth's last farewell.

Sisters, above the grave
Of thy repose,
Should have bid violets wave
With the white rose.

How must the trumpet's note,
Savage and shrill,
For requiem o'er thee float,
Thou fair and still!

And the swift charger sweep
In full career,
Trampling thy place of sleep–
Why camest thou here?

Why?–ask the true heart why
Woman hath been
Ever, where brave men die
Unshrinking seen?

Unto this harvest ground
Proud reapers came,–
Some, for that stirring sound,
A warrior's name;

Some, for the stormy play
And joy of strife;
And some, to fling away
A weary life;–

But thou, pale sleeper, thou,
With the slight frame,
And the rich locks, whose glow
Death cannot tame;

Only one thought, one power,

Thee
could have led,
So, through the tempest's hour,
To lift thy head!

Only the true, the strong,
The love, whose trust
Woman's deep soul too long
Pours on the dust!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:25 min read
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Felicia Dorothea Hemans

Felicia Dorothea Hemans was an English poet. Two of her opening lines, "The boy stood on the burning deck" and "The stately homes of England", have acquired classic status. more…

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