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The Iceni Legend

Where now lies the Iceni spirit?
But all about in Anglian air!
In copse and brook and quarry pit,
Envisage the glory and feel it there.

 Boadicea stands now as statuesque Queen,
At Westminster bridge in old Londinium,
Her image emblazons the penny, now unseen,
Her like won’t be met in another millennium.

 But though we live the here and now,
It’s to the past that we must look.
So remember, and learn, as I tell you how,
The Iceni legend came unto our history book.

 In the ivory towers of ancient Rome,
At the corrupted hub of a sprawling Empire,
Was the licentious Nero, who lay at home,
Dreaming, unwittingly, of funeral pyres.

 Far away, on the edge of Empire grand,
The Cohorts and Legions, who as invaders had marched,
Swathing across such green and pleasant land,
Now policed a nation now of freedom parched.

 In one great domain of true Celtic blood,
Death deemed it due, to sup on Prasutagus’ soul,
And thus created opportunity, for legend to flood,
Through Boadicea, to embody her fated role.

 For Prasutagus had acquired a vast treasure hoard,
But had failed to produce an heir.
So in order to protect the family he adored,
He foolishly willed Nero, an equal share.

 Roman eyes glinted with malice and greed,
And sacked the estates of the belated King.
Countless Centurions on criminal deed,
Obeying immoral orders, sealed by Nero’s ring.

 And thus came the villains to palatial abode,
And took brave Boadicea and her daughters, two.
The palace was pillaged as Nero crowed,
And the women were subjected to improper imbrue.

 The sweet apples both of Prasutagus’ eye,
Were cruelly stripped and brutally raped,
Whilst Boadicea was beaten `neath darkened sky,
At which her wounds wept, and openly gaped.

Her body thus battered, but not her womanly resolve,
She rallied the Iceni of the Anglian folk.
With a cry that none, could from their duty absolve,
Follow me or submit to the Roman yoke!

 Twice hundred times a thousand men of steel,
Marched for vengeance and Iceni pride,
And justice and freedom from invaders heel,
And the memory of their brethren that had died.

 The fist of Rome, Nero’s right hand,
The governor Suetonius Paulinius,
Was away on business across the land,
And of these events was somewhat oblivious.

 And thus to Camulodunum, they came unchecked,
And mustered without of the decadent nest;
Then Boadicea, whom with Roman scars was bedecked,
Incited the Iceni with her bloody request.

Tis I they beat and whipped and scarred!
Tis from I they looted and stole!
My family’s lands lay sacked and charred,
And Iceni blood runs down gibbet pole!

My daughters innocence was bestially defiled,
By the wicked contempt of Neronian lust!
Prasutagus was by treachery beguiled,
Forward Ecene!  Grind the tyranny into dust!

 Warlike Brittannia, grasping trident aloft,
Charioted led the ranks to the affray.
At pleas for mercy, the warriors scoffed.
For no prisoners they took on this vengeful day.

 Death gloated and reaped his ripened harvest,
As the Iceni tribes continued their work of slaughter.
And Boadicea’s fury was vented by her bloodquest,
Screaming, Revenge!  For me and my daughters!

 Camulodunum fell, and Rome winced in pain,
For no one was spared from Iceni hate;
By the torch or the cross, their presence would stain,
No longer, nor bridle, Britain’s fate.

 Boadicea’s wrath was still not abated,
And she rallied once more the men,
Camulodunum is taken, too long it waited,
“Onwards to Verulamium, to victory again!

 This, my friend, is the stuff of legend.
The spirit of rebellion for what is right.
The snarling underdog, turns to send,
The evil marauders back to the night.

 Verulamium too, fell to the sword,
Its Roman denizens put to death,
And still the battle drunk Celtic horde,
Were urged to smother every last Roman breath.

 South they turned to Londinium town,
Their fury and impetus still not spent.
And plundered the jewel of Rome’s English crown,
That the might of Empire was buckled and bent.

Paulinius, from Mona, at last sallied forth,
To quash the infractious uprising.
Reinforcing his troops with Legions from the north,
He deployed his strategy with a speed surprising.

 At Fenny Stratford, on Watling Street,
The Empire’s finest, the Roman foe,
Invoked the Iceni legend with a crushing defeat,
Of the rebel band, inducing Boadicea’s woe.

 The disciplined engine of military might,
Advanced in unison to the fore.
Iceni hearts trembled at the doom laden sight,
And the ground turned to quagmire from Ecene gore.

 Once more victorious, the Roman eagle flew,
“Veni!  Vidi!  Vici!” still held sway.
But from that loss the legend grew,
And lives among us still today.

 Boadicea, with her heart so full of pain,
Imbibed of poison to quell the ache.
Her spirit and soul still live again,
Seeking Shackles of Injustice which to break.

 For this you must know is the lesson learnt,
To be shouted loud throughout the land;
Though Liberty, at the stake, may be burnt,
Against wrong-doings, Britain must stand.

 Boadicea’s bones are long since dust,
But like a Phoenix, she arose anew,
Rule Brittannia!  Yell with a patriots lust!
Boadicea and the Iceni, were Britain’s true!

  1. June 13, 2011 at 11:16

    I love thie piece! Truly epic, and very well written! Head and shoulders, head and shoulders!

  2. June 13, 2011 at 12:04

    From time to time history is alive thanks to poetry… I got that impression from your words!

  3. June 13, 2011 at 13:14

    rich words.
    impressive write.

  4. Poets United
    June 13, 2011 at 15:32

    This has a classic nature and style. Boadicea makes for a very worthy topic.

  5. June 13, 2011 at 17:27

    What a brilliant piece. I’m really into this feel and mood. You did a wonderful job fashioning this piece. Loved it:)

  6. June 14, 2011 at 07:31

    A true tribute to the brave Boadicea !! This played like a movie in my mind…
    MASTERFULLY written, my friend… BRAVO!!! It had me roped in right from the title to the very last word of the poem… an amazing indepth read! LOVED IT and enjoyed it to the fullest!

  7. June 15, 2011 at 11:59

    Wow, a saga! Not many any longer possess the stamina to write such a wonderful narrative poem. I enjoyed this a great deal. Thanks for the history lesson and for sharing your talent. James.

  8. July 16, 2011 at 15:35

    I am in agreement with James Rainsford. Incredible!

    • July 18, 2011 at 18:49

      Thank you for reading and for your comments. 🙂

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