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The Death of Nelson

O'er Nelson's Tomb, with silent grief opprest,
Brittannia mourns her hero! Now at rest:
But those bright laurels ne'er will fade with years,
Whose leaves are water'd ... by a nation's tears.

'Twas in Trafalgar's bay,
We saw the foemen lay;
Each heart wasbounding then;
We scorn'd the foreign yoke,
For our ships were British oak,
And hearts of oak our men!
Our Nelson mark'd them on the wave,
Three cheers our gallant seamen gave,
Nor thought of home or beauty,
Nor thought of home or beauty.
Along the line the signal ran,
"England expects that ev'ry man
This day will do his duty,
This day will do his duty."

And now the cannons roar,
Along th' affrighted shore,
Our Nelson led the way;
His ship, the Vict'ry nam'd;
Long be that vict'ry fam'd,
For vict'ry crown'd the day!
But dearly was that conquest bought,
Too well the gallant hero fought,
For England, home and beauty,
For England, home and beauty.
He cried, as 'midst the fire he ran,
"England expects that ev'ry man
This day will do his duty,
This day will do his duty."

At last the fatal wound,
Which spread dismay around,
The hero's breast, the hero's breast received,
"Heav'n fights upon our side!
The day's our own", he cried!
"Now long enough I've liv'd!
In honour's cause my life was pass'd,
In honour's cause I fall at last,
For England, home and beauty,
For England, home and beauty."
Thus ending life as he began.
England confess'd that ev'ry man,
That day had done his duty,
That day had done his duty.

'The Death of Nelson' came originally from an opera by John Braham, 'The Americans' which was first produced in 1811. So overcome was Lady Hamilton, who was in a private box for the evening, that she had to be taken out of the performance in a fit of hysterics. Critics have suggested that her reaction was more to the musical setting than to the words.


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