1807 12

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To the British Channel
"R. Bloomfield"
[Robert Bloomfield] [1]
The Gentleman's Magazine, LXXVII (December, 1807), p. 1149
The Morning Chronicle (September 9, 1808)
The Political Register and Repository of Fugitive Verse, VI (1811), pp. 366-367

Roll, roll thy white waves, and enveloped 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,
    And with eyes of defiance advance;
'Tis thou has repell'd desolation and woe,
    And the conquering legions of France.

'Tis good to exult in the strength of the land,
    That the flow'r of her youth are in arms;
That her lightning is pointed, her jav'lin in hand,
    And arous'd 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,
    And the bound of the thundering wheel.

The dread chance of battle, its blood and its roar,
    Who can wish in his senses to move;
To plant the foul fiend on Britannia's own shore
    All sacred to peace and to love?

Hail—glory of Albion! ye fleets and ye hosts
    I breathe not the tones of dismay:
In valour unquestioned, still cover your coasts,
    But may Heav'n keep the slaughter away.

Thou gem of the ocean, that smil'st in thy pow'r,
    May thy sons prove too strong to be slaves!
Yet let them not scorn in the dark-fated hour
    To exult in their rampart of waves.

The nations have trembled—have cower'd in the dust,
    Even the Alps heard the conqueror's song,
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;
The girdle of ocean, by Heav'n was decreed
    To protect what the sword would destroy.


1. Born on a farm in Suffolk, Bloomfield (1766-1823) was apprenticed to his uncles, a tailor and a shoemaker. Self-taught by reading the poetry columns and magazines, Bloomfield wrote The Farmer's Boy, published in March, 1800. Twenty-six thousand copies were sold in less than three years. In 1802, the Duke of Grofton became his patron. Bloomfield is referred to favorably by Byron in English Bards and Scots Reviewers.

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