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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

MEMORIALS OF A TOUR ON THE CONTINENT

XXXIV

ON BEING STRANDED NEAR THE HARBOUR OF BOULOGNE

WHY cast ye back upon the Gallic shore,
Ye furious waves! a patriotic Son
Of England--who in hope her coast had won,
His project crowned, his pleasant travel o'er?
Well--let him pace this noted beach once more,
That gave the Roman his triumphal shells;
That saw the Corsican his cap and bells
Haughtily shake, a dreaming Conqueror!--
Enough: my Country's cliffs I can behold,
And proudly think, beside the chafing sea,
Of checked ambition, tyranny controlled,
And folly cursed with endless memory:
These local recollections ne'er can cloy;
Such ground I from my very heart enjoy!

NOTE

Title: Near the town of Boulogne, and over-hanging the beach, are the remains of a tower which bears the name of Caligula, who here terminated his western expedition, of which these sea-shells were the boasted spoils. And at no great distance from these ruins, Buonaparte, standing upon a mound of earth, harangued his "Army of England," reminding them of the exploits of Caesar, and pointing towards the white cliffs, upon which their standards 'were to float'. He recommended also a subscription to be raised among the Soldiery to erect on that ground, in memory of the foundation of the "Legion of Honour," a Column--which was not completed at the time we were there.