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Thomas Rainsborough

That rain in all its cleanliness befell

These lands of England, glen and glade redressed

With water clear, dilutes to cordial soil

As flaked or flayed from fair, white England’s back,

Dissolute flows, ingrained, and broke to flux

As pain in strains, in creeps, as though from breath

Of breeze, its touch of kin, not brute, and light,

Lighter than blessings blow. So purity

Like lambs’ hair irritates, inflames. The rain

Washes away not that. The fallow maids,

The plough that soiled the virgin queen, and then,

The unicorn, with crooked horn, the foal

Or fool, and now, the clean rain runs, like men

At work, then scattered fast as ants, whose strength

Not feared, is deathly, men storm scatters. Rain

Down on the working train, who dig and quake

For soil. Then comes, they hope, the final rain,

Rightful, torrential, pouring on the princes,

And with new-beaten ploughshares, honest men

Crop the crop-tips, and lop them off at collar.

From high sea borne and stern long siege, fleet rises

Rainsborough, he, the English soldier true,

He, England’s swordsman lived and died and he,

The worthy martyr, slain by intrigue sly.

This English rain had washed the flesh in pain

Fresh rain had cleansed the clouded minds enmeshed

In popish wishes plain. The tyrant that

Had broke this English truce, his sceptre planted

In French and Irish, now by sword is smote.

Rainsborough, English spirit, hilt uncloaked,

Presides unseen, and foe and friend unseeing.

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