For a Column at Runnymede
Thou, who the verdant plain dost traverse here While Thames among his willows from thy view Retires; O stranger, stay thee, and the scene Around contemplate well. This is the place Where England's ancient barons, clad in arms And stern with conquest, from their tyrant king (Then rendered tame) did challenge and secure The charter of thy freedom. Pass not on Till thou hast blest their memory, and paid Those thanks which God appointed the reward Of public virtue. And if chance thy home Salute thee with a father's honour'd name, Go, call thy sons: instruct them what a debt They owe their ancestors; and make them swear To pay it, by transmitting down entire Those sacred rights to which themselves were born.
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