England from a distance
Macaulay wrote a stirring epitaph from the perspective of an exiled Jacobite (supporter of King James II) The language, love of country and people and yearning to return to homeland is a tonic in these grubby times. I defy your audience not to raise a sigh of appreciation when you read this stirring call for peace.
A Jacobite’s Epitaph
To my true king I offered, free from stain
Courage and faith; vain faith, and courage vain.
For him I threw lands, honours, wealth, away,
And one dear hope, that was more prized than they.
For him I languished in a foreign clime, 5
Grey-haired with sorrow in my manhood’s prime;
Heard on Lavernia Scargill’s whispering trees,
And pined by Arno for my lovelier Tees;
Beheld each night my home in fever’d sleep,
Each morning started from the dream to weep;
Till God, who saw me tried too sorely, gave
The resting-place I asked, an early grave.
O thou, whom chance leads to this nameless stone
From that proud country which was once mine own.
By those white cliffs I never more must see,
By that dear language which I spake like thee,
Forget all feuds, and shed one English tear
O’er English dust. A broken heart lies here.
Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay (1800 – 59)
A rememberence of glorious sentiment and a call for calm and peace in a world which is increasingly becoming full of the bellows of self-serving louts!