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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

"YOUNG ENGLAND--WHAT IS THEN BECOME OF OLD"

YOUNG ENGLAND--what is then become of Old
Of dear Old England? Think they she is dead,
Dead to the very name? Presumption fed
On empty air! That name will keep its hold
In the true filial bosom's inmost fold
For ever.--The Spirit of Alfred, at the head
Of all who for her rights watched, toiled and bled,
Knows that this prophecy is not too bold.
What--how! shall she submit in will and deed
To Beardless Boys--an imitative race,
The 'servum pecus' of a Gallic breed?
Dear Mother! if thou 'must' thy steps retrace,
Go where at least meek Innocency dwells;
Let Babes and Sucklings be thy oracles.

1845.