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Above the boggy fields of northern France,

Above the clash of club and sword and lance

Of splint’ring shields and fearful faces smashed

As helmets split and bloody brains are dashed,

Of giant steeds impaled on pointed stakes

To howls and cries only the dying make.

Above all this, loosed from the archer’s grip,

With shaft of ash and heron feathers fletched

With nock of horn and tipped with iron barb

Through the skies the swift and silent arrow flies.

It speeds to the top of its deadly arc

And, like a bird, its feathers trim its flight

Before it dips its head for the descent.

It hurtles now at terrifying speed

Towards the human slaughter far below.

Unleashed, no man or God may stop it now.

No soul escapes its lethal bodkin point.

For now it joins its brothers in the skies

A hail of spikes upon the French condemned

To fly untamed and pierce chivalric hearts,

To nail horse and knight in the earth and blood.

The flower of France trampled in the mud.

Across the sea by English yeomen honed

The longbow robs the gallant French of breath

Despatching — without warning — instant death.

At battle’s end, the fighting all but done

(As robbers pick and loot the still warm dead)

The King ascends a mound of fallen knights

The royal sword in triumph raised aloft,

In English fires by English smithies forged,

His loyal men beneath him roar,

“For Harry, England and Saint George!”

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