The armies met on Marston Moor,
'Midst lightning's flash and thunder's roar;
As murky clouds sweep o'er the sky,
God's cannonade with man's will vie.
The Royalists in phalanx strong,
By fiery Rupert led along,
From Bolton's cruel massacre
Towards York, in hope to keep it free
From the Roundheads at any cost.
"If York be lost, my crown is lost"--
Wrote Charles to this trusted chief,
And he must bring it prompt relief.
The foe's true strength he did not know,
But dazzled much by victory's glow
He hoped with ease to overthrow
The untrained volunteers;
Nor did he for brave Cromwell care,
Tho' he had asked "is Cromwell there?"
Would not his grenadiers
Scatter those yeomen to their fields,
To hold their ploughs instead of shields?
Thus confident of great success
He asked his chaplain now to bless
From God's own word their going out,
And seemed to hear the victor's shout,
While from the ranks of Roundheads rose
Triumphant hymns, ere came the blows.
Now Rupert madly dashes out,
"God and the King!" his battle shout;
Charges the parliamentary ranks
In centre, heedless of the flanks,
Defeats Lord Fairfax and Leven,
Scatters like leaves their untrained men.
Remorselessly he hewed them down,
And chased their leaders far from town.
But Cromwell kept his men restrained
Till Rupert thought the victory gained.
His eye was all ablaze with fire,
And burned his soul with righteous ire;
Then sharp and passionate came the cry,
"Charge, in the name of the Most High!"
His features now most clearly show
A strange, enthusiastic glow.
With zeal he wraps himself about,
And fires men's hearts with glance and shout.
"For God and king," is Rupert's cry.
"For truth and peace we dare to die!"
Shouts Cromwell, all the lines along,
Which holds as with a mighty thong
Th' immortal hosts of Puritans,
While on them fall the Royal bans.
As Roundheads, Rupert them derides;
Not Roundheads now, but Ironsides.
The heavens were black, the storm still raged,
As tho' with earth a war it waged,
But raged a fiercer war just then,
Not forces blind, but men with men;
For two score thousand men were there;
And booming cannon rent the air.
The Cavaliers were scattered wide,
Brought to the dust their haughty pride;
Across the beanfield Rupert fled,
His standard gone, his garments red;
His men by many hundreds turned
To ask for mercy, nor were spurned;
While he left all and to York sped,
Heedless of stores, or Royal dead.
To Cromwell's swords as stubble they,
And Truth and Peace had gained the day.