William Wordsworth

England, 1802


IT is not to be thought of that the flood
    Of British freedom, which, to the open sea
    Of the world’s praise, from dark antiquity
Hath flow’d, ‘with pomp of waters, unwithstood,’
Roused though it be full often to a mood
    Which spurns the check of salutary bands,—
    That this most famous stream in bogs and sands
Should perish; and to evil and to good
Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung
    Armoury of the invincible Knights of old:
We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
    That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held.—In everything we are sprung
    Of Earth’s first blood, have titles manifold.