Ode To John Bradbury

A poem by R. C. Lehmann


When the Red KAISER, swoll'n with impious pride
And stuffed with texts to serve his instant need,
Took Shame for partner and Disgrace for guide,
Earned to the full the hateful traitor's meed,
And bade his hordes advance
Through Belgium's cities towards the fields of France;
And when at last our patient island race,
By the attempted wrong
Made fierce and strong,
Flung back the challenge in the braggart's face,
Oh then, while martial music filled the air,
Clarion and fife and bagpipe and the drum,
Calling to men to muster, march, and dare,
Oh, then thy day, JOHN BRADBURY, was come.

JOHN BRADBURY, the Muse shall fill my strain
To sing thy praises; thou hadst spent thy time
Not idly, nor hadst lived thy life in vain,
Unfitted for the guerdon of my rhyme.
For lo, the Funds went sudden crashing down,
And men grew pale with monetary fear,
And in the toppling mart
The stoutest heart
Melted, and fortunes seemed to disappear;
And some, forgetting their austere renown,
Went mad and sold
Whate'er they could and wildly called for Gold!

"Since through no fault of ours the die was cast
We shall go forth and fight
In death's despite
And shall return victorious at the last;
But how, ah how," they said,
"Shall we and ours be fed
And clothed and housed from dreary day to day,
If, while our hearths grow cold, we have no coin to pay?"

Then thou, where no gold was and little store
Of silver, didst appear and wave thy pen,
And with thy signature
Make things secure,
Bidding us all pluck up our hearts once more
And face our foolish fancied fears like men.
"I give you notes," you said, "of different kinds
To ease your anxious minds:
The one is black and shall be fairly found
Equal in value to a golden pound;
The other - mark its healthy scarlet print -
Is worth a full half-sovereign from the Mint."

Thus didst thou speak - at least I think thou didst -
And, lo, the murmurs fell
And all things went right well,
While thy notes fluttered in our happy midst.
Therefore our grateful hearts go forth to thee,
Our British note-provider, brave JOHN BRADBURY!

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Ode To John Bradbury' by R. C. Lehmann

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy