"Hark! The Gaul Is At Her Gates!"
Context: The happy youth of William Cowper, was followed by long years of mental disorganization, some of them spent in an insane asylum. Between attacks, he wrote simple, but popular, poetry and many letters that are among the most brilliant in English literature. Following one attack, he was sent to the country, to the home of the Reverend William C. Unwin. As a therepeutic measure, Mrs. Unwin suggested that Cowper resume poetry writing and complete a volume. It was published when he was fifty years old. One poem was "Boadicea," an ode to the heroine of the last British uprising against the Romans, about A.D. 60. In this poem when Queen Boadicea asks advice, a Druid foretells the invasion of Italy by Alaric I in 410, and others that would cause the downfall of Rome. He also prophesies the coming of later Italians, famous for music or, like Dante, renowned for words, not arms. He concludes by predicting the future greatness of Britain. Says the Druid:
Rome shall perish–write that wordIn the blood that she has spilt;Perish, helpless and abhorred,Deep in ruin as in guilt.Rome, for empire far renowned,Tramples on a thousand states;Soon her pride shall kiss the ground,–Hark! the Gaul is at her gates!Other Romans shall arise,Heedless of a soldier's name.Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize,Harmony the path to fame.