Menella Bute Smedley

When The News About The 'Trent' Came

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Faint as a sigh the weary light
Touches the verge before it drops;
The rustle of descending night
Is felt through all the breathless copse.
A great slow shadow dims the sea,
And ships come softly through its haze,
Like passing shapes seen doubtfully
By eyes that ache while sleep delays.
A ship had brought us word at morn,
How some mad world beyond the sea
Stood up to fling a look of scorn
In face of England's majesty.
And all our land was thinking war;
I, too, with powerless hopes and hands,
Watched while each pale deliberate star
Struck this wet purple in the sands;
And felt, for each red boss of rock,
Now blackening as the night-time grows;
Each curve of these cliff-walls that lock
Our precious freedom from our foes;
For each small circuit traced by foam,
And marking England to my sight,
Each fringe and fragment of my home,
I could have wished to die to-night.

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Menella Bute Smedley