In massive ranks they form upon the sand
The Romans, each behind his golden shield
In perfect lines, in majesty of war,
They march in eager order for the field
And on the far side of the silver beach,
Emerging from the rocks as insects freed,
The Britons, in a mass of swarming swords,
That fly to death in reckless warrior’s need.
For death it is, and at the battle’s front
The soldiers with their gleaming armor press
To run through their aggressive enemy.
The bold blood stains the fur upon the chest
Of each barbarian lord who falls before
The teaming onslaught, groaning at his fall,
While over lifeless forms one Briton flies
To face his foe, the largest of them all.
And each wears on his wrist a broken chain
To say he will be free at any cost,
Yet, still, two ragged natives turn their backs
In fear, for they can see the battle lost.
The brightly colored robes of roman guard
Stand yet unstained by wounds to make blood flow
And on the shoreline of the violent sands
Are ships neatly aligning in a row.
Yet while the Romans fall upon their prey,
While, pierced by spears, the Britons by and by
Submit to death, the land stands looking on.
The silent stones, the peaceful sea, the sky.
– s. Clark