Gateway to the Classics: In the Days of the Guild by Louise Lamprey
In the Days of the Guild by  Louise Lamprey

London Bridge (1066)

It was almost an hundred years ago,

When Ethelred was King. This town of London

Was held by Danes. Olaf the King of Norway

Came with his host to fight for Ethelred

And with his galleys rowed beneath the bridge,

Lashed cables round the piers, and caught the tide

That lent the strength of Ocean to their strength

Rowing down-stream. Ah, how the strong oars beat

The waters into foam—and how the Danes

Above upon the bridge fought furiously

With stones and arrows—but the bridge went down—

The bridge went down. So Ethelred was King.

And now the bridge has been built up again.

'Tis not a thing of timbers, or hewn stone;

It is a weaving of men's hopes and dreams

From shore to shore. It is a thing alive.

The men of Surrey and the men of Kent,

The men of Sussex and Northumberland,

The shepherds of the downs, the Wealden forges,

Fishermen, packmen, bargemen, masons, all

The traffickers of England, made our bridge.

It is a thing enchanted by the thoughts

Of all our people.


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