The Head Of Bran The Blest

I

When the Head of Bran
Was firm on British shoulders,
God made a man!
Cried all beholders.

Steel could not resist
The weight his arm would rattle;
He, with naked fist,
Has brain'd a knight in battle.

He marched on the foe,
And never counted numbers;
Foreign widows know
The hosts he sent to slumbers.

As a street you scan,
That's towered by the steeple,
So the Head of Bran
Rose o'er his people.

II

'Death's my neighbour,'
Quoth Bran the Blest;
'Christian labour
Brings Christian rest.
From the trunk sever
The Head of Bran,
That which never
Has bent to man!
'That which never
To men has bowed
Shall live ever
To shame the shroud:
Shall live ever
To face the foe;
Sever it, sever,
And with one blow.

'Be it written,
That all I wrought
Was for Britain,
In deed and thought:
Be it written,
That while I die,
Glory to Britain!
Is my last cry.

'Glory to Britain!
Death echoes me round.
Glory to Britain!
The world shall resound.
Glory to Britain!
In ruin and fall,
Glory to Britain!
Is heard over all.'

III

Burn, Sun, down the sea!
Bran lies low with thee.

Burst, Morn, from the main!
Bran so shall rise again.

Blow, Wind, from the field!
Bran's Head is the Briton's shield.

Beam, Star, in the West!
Bright burns the Head of Bran the Blest.

IV

Crimson-footed, like the stork,
From great ruts of slaughter,
Warriors of the Golden Torque
Cross the lifting water.
Princes seven, enchaining hands,
Bear the live head homeward.
Lo! it speaks, and still commands:
Gazing out far foamward.

Fiery words of lightning sense
Down the hollows thunder;
Forest hostels know not whence
Comes the speech, and wonder.
City-Castles, on the steep,
Where the faithful Seven
House at midnight, hear, in sleep,
Laughter under heaven.

Lilies, swimming on the mere,
In the castle shadow,
Under draw their heads, and Fear
Walks the misty meadow.
Tremble not! it is not Death
Pledging dark espousal:
'Tis the Head of endless breath,
Challenging carousal!

Brim the horn! a health is drunk,
Now, that shall keep going:
Life is but the pebble sunk;
Deeds, the circle growing!
Fill, and pledge the Head of Bran!
While his lead they follow,
Long shall heads in Britain plan
Speech Death cannot swallow!

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George Meredith

George Meredith was the head of the Meredith family who, with the Amos family, were the first settlers on the east coast of Tasmania. more…

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"The Head Of Bran The Blest" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 13 Dec. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/15619/the-head-of-bran-the-blest>.

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