A Lament on the death of Nelson

Published in The Times on 23 November 1805

Ye, who gloried in Nelson, thro' life so victorious,
The pride of the good, and the boast of the brave,
Now mourn, Britons, mourn o'er his exit so glorious
And strike your sad breasts while you bend o'er his grave.
Our grief mix'd with joy - with each pang exultation,
The conflict how sore 'twixt the smile and the tear;
Whilst struggling with rapture and anguish,the Nation
Sees the Cypress and Laurel unite o'er his bier.

While tow'ring Trafalgar frowns over the ocean
And stern the rude winds and the billows defies
French and Spaniards at noon we discovered in motion
And sparkle of ecstasy flash'd from all eyes,
Ye Gods! what a moment! a sight of such beauty
What more could a brave British seaman desire?
And the signal, 'This day let each man do his duty'
Prim'd each gallant heart, set each bosom on fire.

Aloft on the deck stood the world's naval wonder
Whilst alarms for his life all around him express'd
'Midst smoke, fire and flame, and the loud cannons' thunder
Serene was his aspect and fearless his breast.
Oh a curse on the hand of our Chief who bereft us
And laid on the deck the great Conqueror low.
He's gone! - But his matchless example he's left us
And victory and vengeance soon follow'd the blow

The King's stoutest champion, the Country's bright glory,
Of no faction a tool - to no party a slave,
First of heroes! Our grief shall instruct future story
Thy deed to exalt and to honour thy grave.
Our woe mix'd with joy, with each pang exultation,
The conflict now sore 'twixt the smile and the tear,
While in anguish and rapture entranc'd, a whole Nation
With the Cypress and Laurel itself deck thy bier.

Old England has lost her right hand,
Of Nelson her champion bereft,
Yet Ocean she shall still command
And like him beat the French with her left.

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