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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

XXXVI

GENERAL VIEW OF THE TROUBLES OF THE REFORMATION

AID, glorious Martyrs, from your fields of light,
Our mortal ken! Inspire a perfect trust
(While we look round) that Heaven's decrees are just:
Which few can hold committed to a fight
That shows, ev'n on its better side, the might
Of proud Self-will, Rapacity, and Lust,
'Mid clouds enveloped of polemic dust,
Which showers of blood seem rather to incite
Than to allay. Anathemas are hurled
From both sides; veteran thunders (the brute test
Of truth) are met by fulminations new--
Tartarean flags are caught at, and unfurled--
Friends strike at friends--the flying shall pursue--
And Victory sickens, ignorant where to rest!