Monday, 31 December 2012

No. VIII [Villain, Forbear]

No. VIII [Villain, Forbear]

Written impromptu, on seeing a poor discharged soldier, in faded
regimentals, and of poor intellect, rudely beaten with his own stick
when asking alms, in the public street at Stokesley, April 21st 1849, by
the peevish policeman named in the sonnet.

Villain, forbear! Or blighted be thy arm
In retribution for each wrongful blow:
Cursed be he who can a soldier harm,—
His days be full of misery and woe,
Till foul Disease and Death do lay him low. 5
Perchance that soldier in the breach has stood,
The champion of his country in her need;
Has spilt on battle-plains the foeman’s blood,
That thou mightst sleep in peace! His heart doth bleed
To think his manly shoulders now must bear 10
That stroke of wretch like thee. Miles Thompson, hear!
The poet’s curse be on thee: for all time
May thy vile name be loathsome to the ear
Of all who count not poverty a crime.

George Markham Tweddell

From North of England Tractates No. 7
Cleveland Sonnets (1870)

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