The hundred years have passed, and he
Whose name appeased a nation’s fears,
As with a hand laid over sea;
To thunder through the foeman’s ears
Defeat before his blast of fire;
Lives in the immortality
That poets dream and noblest souls desire.
Never did nation’s need evoke
Hero like him for aid, the while
A Continent was cannon-smoke
Or peace in slavery: this one Isle
Reflecting Nature: this one man
Her sea-hound and her mortal stroke,
With war-worn body aye in battle’s van.
And do we love him well, as well
As he his country, we may greet,
With hand on steel, our passing bell
Nigh on the swing, for prelude sweet
To the music heard when his last breath
Hung on its ebb beside the knell,
And VICTORY in his ear sang gracious Death.
Ah, day of glory! day of tears!
Day of a people bowed as one!
Behold across those hundred years
The lion flash of gun at gun:
Our bitter pride; our love bereaved;
What pall of cloud o’ercame our sun
That day, to bear his wreath, the end achieved.
Joy that no more with murder’s frown
The ancient rivals bark apart.
Now Nelson to brave France is shown
A hero after her own heart:
And he now scanning that quick race,
To whom through life his glove was thrown,
Would know a sister spirit to embrace.