"The Battle" lyrics - DAVE COUSINS

"The Battle"

In the early dawn the Bishops' men shivered in the damp
But the shiver came not from the cold and spread throughout the camp
The trembling horses sensed the fear of silent thoughtful men
Who prayed that wives and families might see them once again.

The bishops sent a dawn patrol to investigate the weight
Of forces at the King's command ensconced behind the gate
The ground mist hid the patrol's approach as they drew close enough to show
The sentries on the battlements and an archer drew his bow.

From the topmost tower a sentry fell as an arrow pierced his skull
And his headlong flight into the moat seemed that of a gull
The patrol reported little, there was nothing much to see
But the strong and silent castle, a symbol of the free.

The King's men took communion as the first rays of the sun
Lit up the castle's gloomy walls, the fatal day begun
From the castle green the rooks took flight to the high trees in the east
To their carrion minds the battlefield set a table for a feast.

A tide of black, the Bishops' men, equality their right
Swarmed like ants across the hill, their aim at last in sight
The King's men dressed in purest white were driven back by force
And the fighting grew more violent, as the battle took its course.

The Bishops gave the order, no mercy to be shown
The sacrifice will reap rewards when the King is overthrown
The sight of children lying dead made hardened soldiers weep
The outer walls began to fall, they moved towards the keep.

When the anxious King began to fail as many thought he might
The Queen ran screaming round the walls and urged the men to fight
The Bishops' men were tiring as the afternoon drew late
And the King's men lowered the drawbridge and poured out through the gate.

They fought their way across the bridge, the men like falling leaves
Or ears of corn that fall in swathes, the vicious sickle cleaves
The tide receded up the hill, the waste of reclaimed land
Once decaying swamp became a shore of pure white sand.

A blinded priest was seen to bless both the dying and the dead
As he stumbled around the battlefield, his cassock running red
If uniform were black or white, his eyes could never see
And death made no distinction whatever man he be.

As darkness fell both camps withdrew, their soldiers slain like cattle
Leaving the rooks to feast alone the victors of the battle
At evensong both camps reviewed their sad depleted ranks
As survivors of the battle gave God their grateful thanks.