Address to the British Channel (1806)



I have found, with great satisfaction, that the opinions of my friends in Kent are in unison with the sentiment expressed in the following lines; a sentiment which surely no Englishman can conceive to be derogatory either to his courage or his patriotism.


Rob. Bloomfield.]

Roll, roll thy white waves, and envelop’d in foam
Pour thy tides round the echoing shore,
Thou guard of Old England; my country, my home;
And my soul shall rejoice in the roar.
Though high-fronted valour may scowl at the foe, 5
And with eyes of defiance advance;
’Tis thou hast repell’d desolation and woe,
And the conquering legions of France.
’Tis good to exult in the strength of the land;
That the flower of her youth are in arms;10
That her lightning is pointed, her jav’lin in hand,
And aroused the rough spirit that warms:
But never may that day of horror be known,
When these hills, and these valleys shall feel
The rush of the phalanx by phalanx o’erthrown, 15
And the bound of the thundering wheel.
The dread chance of battle, its blood, and its roar,
Who can wish in his senses to prove?
To plant the foul fiend on Britannia’s own shore,
All sacred to peace and to love?20
Hail! glory of Albion! ye fleets, and ye hosts,
I breathe not the tones of dismay;
In valour unquestion’d still cover your coasts,
But may Heav’n keep the slaughter away!
Thou gem of the ocean, that smil’st in thy power,25
May thy son’s prove too strong to be slaves;
Yet, let them not scorn in the dark-fated hour,
But exult in their rampart of waves.
The nations have trembled, have cowr’d in the dust,
E’en the Alps heard the conqueror’s song,30
When the genius of Gaul with unquenchable thirst
Push’d her eagles resistless along.
And still they advance; and the nations must bleed;
Then sing, O my country, for joy;
Thy girdle of ocean by Heav’n was decreed35
To protect what the sword would destroy.
Roll, roll thy white waves, and envelop’d in foam
Pour thy tides round the echoing shore,
Thou guard of Old England, my country, my home,
And my soul shall rejoice in the roar. [1] 40

Ramsgate, Nov. 2, 1806.


*Published in The Monthly Mirror, 22 (1806), 336–37. Stanzas one to six only reprinted in Remains. BACK

[1] Thou gem of the ocean … rejoice in the roar] omitted in Remains. BACK