Home  »  A Library of American Literature  »  To England

Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

To England

By George Henry Boker (1823–1890)

LEAR and Cordelia! ’twas an ancient tale

Before thy Shakespeare gave it deathless fame:

The times have changed, the moral is the same.

So like an outcast, dowerless, and pale,

Thy daughter went; and in a foreign gale

Spread her young banner, till its sway became

A wonder to the nations. Days of shame

Are close upon thee: prophets raise their wail.

When the rude Cossack with an outstretched hand

Points his long spear across the narrow sea,—

“Lo! there is England!” when thy destiny

Storms on thy straw-crowned head, and thou dost stand

Weak, helpless, mad, a by-word in the land,—

God grant thy daughter a Cordelia be!