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Got The T-Shirt: Roaring Meg

Steph Spiers' vivid poem paints a bloody portrait of a famous battle between the Parliamentarians and the men of the King in England's Civil War.

For more of Steph's poetry please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/got_the_tshirt/

Brave Sir John Gell and William Brereton, would not have their way,
when Roaring Meg’s twenty-nine pound shot could shout her say.

To Cromwell’s army Lichfield had already fell, and it was sore
as an open wound to Royalist Northampton keeping score
of eighty prisoners taken by General Hastings’ Foot into safe custody
afore the Battle of Hopton Heath on Saturday 19th March 1643.

Parliamentary spies gave up two hundred rebels strong and brave,
at Heywood, where they were taking jolly quarters by their leave.

Major Scudamore was ordered entry and to take the bridge
while on the high, Northampton and Hastings did lay their siege
and on Saturday marched both Horse and Foot to Stafford town,
where Intelligence reported at Hopton Heath rebels were battening down.

Royalist thousand Horse and Foot, with enemy being twice as many at a go
the first rebel troops dug in, gaining any lean advantage of wall and hedgerow
so lined by Musquetteeres and Pikemen standing secure aware of the hazard,
the lethal trap of cunny warrens, a heavy horseman dare not risk a charge.

Eight Drakes and three great pieces barked advantage from up high
as the battle raged, came out the Dagooners with their musket and wild cry.
‘Daunted not a whit our courage,’ said the General with his one good piece
bringing death to six in its first bark, causing grievous injury in the crease.

The Earl flew at the hordes in great afire, but his charger found a hole and fell,
and into waiting hands his lordship had the misfortune to momentary dwell.
Skirmishing to gain a cannon, Sir Thomas Byron received hurts one and two
from carbine and sharp sword blade which ran him through and through.

Parliamentarians took many prisoners, but ‘none of quality’, or so they say,
spry William Brereton and Sir John Gell, fought well and lived to fight another day.
Captured cannon and Drakes and good ammunition were cast into some pool adjacent
by Royalists under the arc of Roaring Meg’s hail of fire, as the very air itself was rent
asunder and Brereton’s butchered infantry came too late in the day to prevent the rout.

Overheated and bloody, as blessed night fell, weary Roaring Meg gave her last shout.


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