"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Monday, 19 April 2010

The Reeds At Runnymede

At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
What say the reeds at Runnymede?
The lissom reeds that give and take,
That bend so far, but never break,
They keep the sleepy Thames awake
With tales of John at Runnymede.

At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Oh, hear the reeds at Runnymede:
'You musn't sell, delay, deny,
A freeman's right or liberty.
It wakes the stubborn Englishry,
We saw 'em roused at Runnymede!

When through our ranks the Barons came,
With little thought of praise or blame,
But resolute to play the game,
They lumbered up to Runnymede;
And there they launched in solid line
The first attack on Right Divine,
The curt uncompromising "Sign!'
They settled John at Runnymede.

At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
Your rights were won at Runnymede!
No freeman shall be fined or bound,
Or dispossessed of freehold ground,
Except by lawful judgment found
And passed upon him by his peers.
Forget not, after all these years,
The Charter signed at Runnymede.'

And still when mob or Monarch lays
Too rude a hand on English ways,
The whisper wakes, the shudder plays,
Across the reeds at Runnymede.
And Thames, that knows the moods of kings,
And crowds and priests and suchlike things,
Rolls deep and dreadful as he brings
Their warning down from Runnymede!

Apologies for posting this poem again ... some might think it's laughable or histrionic, but I don't. I think we're looking at tears before bedtime.


  1. Thank you for this, CE - it is many a long year since I've read this; Kipling, of course, isn't what our traitorous 'leaders' would want our children and grandchildren to hear and read - if they still do that now.

    Thank you, Sir - all power to you and to England - though it take a thousand years, we will be free!

  2. It's a terrible thing to think that the reeds are rustling again Opsimath. It will take less than a thousand years to regain our national sovereignty.

  3. Is it possible that such sentiments can still stir the English heart? Tears before bedtime - aye.

  4. I think they do, Scunnert - it's a question of finding time in a busy life to think about it. There are so many distractions and many people have a hard time keeping body and soul together at the moment. We all need to lift up our eyes and see the wider picture for a minute.

  5. When I was at school, more than 50 years ago, we used to sing a song from Edward German's light opera, Merry England.

    I have never forgotten it and for those who might not know it, here it is:

    Where are the yeomen, the yeomen of England?
    In homestead and in cottage
    They still dwell in England!
    Stained with the ruddy tan
    God's air doth give a man,
    Free as the winds that fan
    The broad breast of England.

    And nations to eastward
    And nations to westward
    As foemen may curse them
    The Yeomen Of England!
    No other land could nurse them
    But their mother-land Old England,
    And on her broad bosom shall they ever thrive!

    It may come over as dewy eyed sentimentality and jingoism, but England, and being English was something we were proud of; we didn't have a constant pressure from traitors, of all political leanings, calling us racists and worse.

    I shall soon be leaving this England for a much better place, as will we all, but England is, and will always be my love as long as I breathe and hope.

    Dum spiro spero!

  6. Thanks for that Opsimath, it isn't a song I've come across before. I was reading the Mail this morning and they have an article stating that the English are the least patriotic country 'in Europe'. There were many angry commenters agreeing with you. If Brown and the Labour Party have a hand in the next govt, heaven help us all.


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