Royal Scots Greys at Waterloo

Again, the Banner of Our Fathers’ Pride

Once more the banner of our fathers’ pride
Waves proud above a fallen Europe’s head!
Again, a godless empire topples dead
At Britain’s feet, the tyrant’s rule denied!

To Bonaparte’s false dream our guns replied,
At Waterloo, where many of us bled.
Today his crooked avatars have fled,
And Satan’s One World hell has crashed and died!

Let this go forth, that those who offer chains
Disguised as peace, through fraud or cunning arts,
Shall know the wrath of Britain’s righteous Lord!

That here the sacred love of place yet reigns
In English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish hearts
That have no fear of Brussels’ paper sword!

Winner of the 2020 Society of Classical Poets Competition (America's highest honor in classical verse), Joseph Charles MacKenzie is a traditional lyric poet of New Mexico. He is also the only American to have won the Scottish International Poetry Competition (see: Times Literary Supplement, Jan 27, 2017). A Pushcart Prize nominee, MacKenzie's verses have appeared in The New York Times, The Scotsman (Edinburgh), The Independent (London), The Telegraph (London), and many other venues. He wirtes primarily for Trinacria (New York) and the Society of Classical Poets (New York).


  • Ian Chapman

    This poem reflects exactly my sentiments. We have indeed dodged a Bullet but with the last election, we dodged it big style!

    We as a nation should now return to the Biblical principles and laws that made us great in the first place. If we do not, a much worse tyranny awaits us, whatever that may be.

    Ian Chapman 27 January 2020.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Indeed, as you suggest, the worst tyrannies arise within societies that have abandoned God, hence the last verse’s emphasis on “any” form of despotism, including domestic oppression.

      I thank you for your very kind comment, Mr. Chapman, which is all the more important to me as an American lyric poet striving always to express as perfectly as possible the sentiments of the great and noble peoples of Britain, birthplace of song!

      May God bless you and all those around you on Brexit Day!

  • Michael FitzGerald

    I really enjoyed your poem. I am a poet and author of ten works of non-fiction and one novel and history is one of my passions. Your poem captured exactly how relieved we Brexiteers are to finally be leaving the EU. I will repost your poem on Facebook and Twitter!

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Dear Mr. Fitzgeral,

      Truly, the great, popular movement we know as Brexit has engaged every part of British and American society, to include those intellectual millieus represented by so prolific an author as yourself. I am deeply honored by your kind attention and hope that yours will be a most propitious Brexit Day indeed!

      All good wishes!

      Joseph Charles MacKenzie

  • Evan Mantyk

    I thought the “chains disguised as peace” was an especially poignant phrase. The Age of Reason ideals, which still rule many sectors of society were often depicted as the throwing off of chains of the past, as found in Napoleon’s speech to his troops in Italy, at the feet of the French-built Statue of Liberty (unfortunately), and at the end of Marx’s Communist Manifesto (“You have nothing to lose but your chains”). Here Mr. MacKenzie has brilliantly illuminated that the real chains are to be found in going along with increasingly degenerate and atheistic status quo, which absolutely prohibits taking a stand against communism or socialism, typically in the name of peace.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Mr. Mantyk, editor of The Society of Classical Poets, America’s premiere venue of formal verse, has written most effectively on the subject of socialism, cultural Marxism, and communist oppression in China and throughtout the world. Given the overwhelmingly positive attention of British readers to the “Poem for Brexit Day,” there can be no doubt that Mr. Mantyk’s understanding of the sonnet is shared by the British people themselves and, moreover, that the universal fear of Islamo-globalist statism is one of the fundamental motives of those nationalist-populist movements currently gaining momentum among all the peoples of Europe.

  • Tamara Raetz

    To a fellow legatee of what had become a fading legacy to Britannia’s offspring: As an American Anglophile sonneteer myself, I am heartened by this wonderful sonnet written in the elderly spirit of British literature, history, and culture with an offspring’s freshness of clear sight. I indulge the hope that Britannia will now recall her own great treasures and set them once again in their places, and that countries who speak the mother tongue will rediscover their overlooked value.

  • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

    Dear Tamara Raetz,

    Your unique appreciation of “Poem for Brexit Day” is an important reminder to us Americans of that eternal debt we owe to Great Britain for that inestimable gift of literry tradition which she, as you say, has legued to us whose work has been so magnificently enriched by her language, her history, and her enduring love of freedom.

    May yours be a blessed Brexit Day!

    All good wishes!

    Joseph Charles MacKenzie

  • Kelvin Walker

    Gladly Britain shakes off Europe’s hold
    And takes a step into a bright new dawn
    Manacled no more by chains of Gold
    Manufactured so we might be sold
    Or bought as Europe’s gulled and gelded pawn.

    Now those chains, whose brightness gulled us in,
    Called forth to us, with links like golden stars
    Under this new Sun show as base tin.
    Now unbound, new freedom can begin
    To shine beyond ole Europe’s prison bars!

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      These quartrains make good use of the metaphor of chains together with the overarching sense of hope in Britain’s unbound future. Yes, we should look forward most ardently to the opportunities created by British freedom.

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