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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

XI

SAXON CONQUEST

NOR wants the cause the panic-striking aid
Of hallelujahs tost from hill to hill--
For instant victory. But Heaven's high will
Permits a second and a darker shade
Of Pagan night. Afflicted and dismayed,
The Relics of the sword flee to the mountains:
O wretched Land! whose tears have flowed like fountains;
Whose arts and honours in the dust are laid
By men yet scarcely conscious of a care
For other monuments than those of Earth;
Who, as the fields and woods have given them birth,
Will build their savage fortunes only there;
Content, if foss, and barrow, and the girth
Of long-drawn rampart, witness what they were.

NOTES

2 'Nor wants the cause the panic-striking aid
Of hallelujahs.'

Alluding to the victory gained under Germanus.--See Bede.

10 'By men yet scarcely conscious of a care
For other monuments than those of Earth.'

The last six lines of this Sonnet are chiefly from the prose of
Daniel; and here I will state (though to the Readers whom this
Poem will chiefly interest it is unnecessary) that my obligations
to other prose writers are frequent,--obligations which, even if I
had not a pleasure in courting, it would have been presumptuous to
shun, in treating an historical subject. I must, however,
particularise Fuller, to whom I am indebted in the Sonnet upon
Wicliffe and in other instances. And upon the acquittal of the
Seven Bishops I have done little more than versify a lively
description of that event in the MS. Memoirs of the first Lord
Lonsdale.