Cromwell

Henry Lawson, 1910

      They took dead Cromwell from his grave,
             And stuck his head on high;
      The Merry Monarch and his men,
             They laughed as they passed by
      The common people cheered and jeered,
             To England's deep disgrace —
      The crowds who'd ne'er have dared to look
             Live Cromwell in the face.

      He came in England's direst need
             With law and fire and sword,
      He thrashed her enemies at home
             And crushed her foes abroad;
      He kept his word by sea and land,
             His parliament he schooled,
      He made the nations understand
             A Man in England ruled!

      Van Tromp, with twice the English ships,
             And flushed by victory —
      A great broom to his masthead bound —
             Set sail to sweep the sea.
      But England's ruler was a man
             Who needed lots of room —
      So Blake soon lowered the Dutchman's tone,
             And smashed the Dutchman's broom.

      He sent a bill to Tuscany
             For sixty thousand pounds,
      For wrong done to his subjects there,
             And merchants in her bounds.
      He sent by Debt Collector Blake,
             And — you need but be told
      That, by the Duke of Tuscany
             That bill was paid in gold.

      To pirate ports in Africa
             He sent a message grim
      To have each captured Englishman
             Delivered up to him;
      And every ship and cargo's worth,
             And every boat and gun —
      And this — all this, as Dickens says —
             "Was gloriously done."

      They'd tortured English prisoners
             Who'd sailed the Spanish Main;
      So Cromwell sent a little bill
             By Admiral Blake to Spain.
      To keep his hand in, by the way.
             He whipped the Portuguese;
      And he made it safe for English ships
             To sail the Spanish seas.

      The Protestants in Southern lands
             Had long been sore oppressed;
      They sent their earnest prayers to Noll
             To have their wrongs redressed.
      He sent a message to the Powers,
             In which he told them flat,
      All men must praise God as they chose,
             Or he would see to that.

      And, when he'd hanged the fools at home
             And settled foreign rows,
      He found the time to potter round
             Amongst his pigs and cows.
      Of private rows he never spoke,
             That grand old Ironsides.
      They said a father's strong heart broke
             When Cromwell's daughter died.

      (They dragged his body from its grave,
             His head stuck on a pole,
      They threw his wife's and daughter's bones
             Into a rubbish hole
      To rot with those of two who'd lived
             And fought for England's sake,
      And each one in his own brave way —
             Great Pym, and Admiral Blake.)

      From Charles to Charles, throughout the world
             Old England's name was high,
      And that's a thing no Royalist
             Could ever yet deny.
      Long shameful years have passed since then,
             In spite of England's boast —
      But Englishmen were Englishmen,
             While Cromwell carved the roast.

      And, in my country's hour of need —
             For it shall surely come,
      While run by fools who'll never heed
             The beating of the drum.
      While baffled by the fools at home,
             And threatened from the sea —
      Lord! send a man like Oliver —
             And let me live to see.