The Dirge Of Offa

Michael Horneythorne Ball
Lingua: Inglese

See my son, my Offa, dies !
He who could chase his father’s foes !
Where shall the king now close his eyes ?
Where but in the tomb of woes.

‘Tis there thy stony couch is laid,
And there the wearied king may rest –
But will not Penda’s threats invade
The quiet of the monarch’s breast ?

No –my son shall quell his rage –
What have I said ? – ah me, undone ;
Ne’er shall the parent’s snowy age
Recall the tender name of son !

O would that I for thee had died,
Nor liv’d to wail thy piteous case !
Who dar’d defy those looks of pride,
That mark the chiefs of Wyba’s race !

But, O my son, I little knew
What pow’r was in that arm of might !
That weeds of such a baleful hue
The laurel’s beauteous wreath should blight !

Yes, my son, the shaft that thee
Transfix’d, hath drawn thy father’s fate !
O how will Hengist weep to see
The woes that on his line await !

To see my Offa’s latest pangs,
As wild in death he bites the shore !
A savage wolf, with bloody fangs,
The lamb’s unspotted bosom tore !

Who never knew to give offence,
But to revenge his father’s wrong !-
Some abler arm convey him hence
And bear a father’s love along !

Alas ! this tongue is all too weak
The last sad duties to perform !
These feeble arms their task forsake !
Else should they rise in wrathful storm.

Against the ruthless rebel’s head
Who dared such laurels to destroy ;
To bid each virtue’s hope lie dead !
And crush a parent’s only joy !

Inter him by yon ivy tow’r,
And raise the note of deepest dole !
Ne’er should a friend in deathful hour,
Forget the chief of gen’rous soul :

And o’er the grave erect a stone,
His worth and lineage high to tell :
And, by the faithful cross be shown
That in the faith of Christ he fell !

Hail ! valiant chiefs of Hatfield Wood !
Ne’er may your blooming honours cease !
That with unequal strength withstood
Th’invader of your country’s peace.

Now, round this head let darkness fall !
Descend, ye shafts of thund’rous hail !
Ne’er shall be said, in Edwy’s hall
That troubled ghost was heard to wail ! –

Then, with his feeble arm, the fire
Into the thickest battle flies,
To die, was all the chief’s desire ;
Oppress’d with wounds and grief, he dies.

And let the future soul of rhime,
If chance he cons of Edwy’s praise,
As high his quiv’ring fingers climb,
Record, that Mordrid pour’d the lays !

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