[BOADICEA was the wife of the chief of one of the tribes of early Britain. In the hope of saving his family from trouble, this chief willed his wealth to his daughters, and to the Roman Emperor. The officials seized the wealth, flogged Boadicea, and enslaved others of the family. She led a revolt against the Roman power in 62 A.D., but was overcome.
|The Editor. ]|
WHEN the British warrior-queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Sought, with an indignant mien,
Counsel of her country's gods,
Sage beneath a spreading oak
Sat the Druid, hoary chief,
Every burning word he spoke
Full of rage and full of grief.
"Princess! if our aged eyes
Weep upon thy matchless wrongs,
'T is because resentment ties
All the terrors of our tongues.
"Rome shall perish—write that word
In the blood that she has spilt;
Perish, hopeless and abhorred,
Deep in ruin as in guilt.
"Rome, for empire far renowned,
Tramples on a thousand states;
Soon her pride shall kiss the ground—
Hark! the Gaul is at her gates!
"Other Romans shall arise,
Heedless of a soldier's name;
Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize,
Harmony the path to fame.
"Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our land,
Armed with thunder, clad with wings,
Shall a wider world command.
"Regions Cæsar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway,
Where his eagles never flew—
None invincible as they."
Such the bard's prophetic words,
Pregnant with celestial fire,
Bending as he swept the chords
Of his sweet but awful lyre.
She, with all a monarch's pride,
Felt them in her bosom glow,
Rushed to battle, fought and died;
Dying, hurled them at the foe.
"Ruffians, pitiless as proud,
Heaven awards the vengeance due;
Empire is on us bestowed,
Shame and ruin wait for you."