George Walter Thornbury ( )

The Wiltshire Cairn

CARADOC with the golden torque,
Amber anklets and sword of bronze,
A wolf-skin clothing his giant limbs
Tawny with thirty summers suns,
Was slain beneath those great beech-trees
By Roman spearmen, who had found
His last retreat, and burnt his hut,
And dragged his wife in fetters bound.

Now see the mound, that scarcely swells
Above the level of the downs,	
Upon whose summit, dry and sear,
Ground-thistles spread their purple crowns;
While round it nets the dry crisp thyme
The bees love so: those old trees wave
Just where the Roman spearmen struck,
And Caradoc had here his grave.

T was fourteen hundred years ago;
And now the thrush upon the thorn
Sings heedless of that chieftains fate;
And on this golden July morn
A little butterfly, all blue,
In the mid air is hovering
Around the flowering grass that grows
Above the ashes of the king.

And far away the cornfields stretch
In golden sections, fading dim
To the gray ridge of farther down;
That burring murmur is the hymn
Of the great conqueror Steam, the chief
Of new reformers. See that whiff
Of flying smoke,that is the train;
Fast burrowing in the tunnelled cliff.

George Walter Thornbury's other poems:
  1. A Dorsetshire Legend
  2. The Ride of Nostradamus
  3. Smith of Maudlin
  4. Dr. Johnsons Penance
  5. The Bells of Avignon

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