Project Canterbury

Songs and Ballads for the People

By the Rev. John Mason Neale

London: James Burns, 1843.

XIII. The White King's Funeral.

'Twas a winter-night, and the pall was white,
For the snow fell thick and fast,
As to its grave in Windsor Nave
The White King's coffin past.

The good King Charles! it was meet that he,
Whose reign on earth below
Had been spotless and pure as pure could be,
Should have now a crown of snow.

There had risen against him a rebel-host,
And he sank before his foes;
And his faith was tried to the uttermost,
And brightest it shone at the close.

For the Church his life he held not dear,
For the Church he came to die;
And in that season of doubt and fear,
There was one of Her Bishops by.

"Now," said that Bishop, "there only remains
One stage, one short stage more;
It shall bear you quickly from fear and pains
To the place where pains are o'er."

"From death," said the King, "to life I go;
From bondage to be freed;
To a Palace above from a dungeon below;--
A blessed exchange indeed!"

No trumpet might sound, no banner might wave,
As his coffin was borne on its way;
That Bishop was ready beside the grave,
But they would not let him pray;

For they made great search for the sons of the Church,
And such in their dungeon they laid;
Fools! as if they who endure for a day
Could unmake what God had made!

The Church they spoil'd, and Her Bishops fell,
And they thought they had crush'd Her outright;
But is it not written, "The gates of hell
Shall never destroy Her" quite?

She rose again; and we have Her still,
And She nevermore can fail;
Though Dissenters may strive to work Her ill,
They cannot for long prevail.

So if e'er She is touch'd by wicked men,
We will stand by Her holy side;
And if it should come to the worst,--why then
We can die as the White King died!

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