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« And shall the audacious traitor brave
The presence where our banners wave?”
“ So please my liege,” said Argentine,
“ Were he but horsed on steed like mine,
To give him fair and knightly chance,
I would adventure forth my lance.”
« In battle-day,” the king replied,
« Nice tourney' rules are set aside.
-Still must the rebel dare our wrath?
Set on him-sweep him from our path !".
And, at King Edward's signal, soon
Dashed from the ranks Sir Henry Boune.
Of Hereford's high blood he came,
A race renowned for knightly fame.
He burned before his monarch's eye
To do some deed of chivalry.
He spurred his steed, he couched his lance,
And darted on the Bruce at once.
As motionless as rocks, that bide
The wrath of the advancing tide,
The Bruce stood fast. Each breast beat high,
And dazzled was each gazing eye;
The heart had hardly time to think,
The eye-lid scarce had time to wink,
While on the king, like flash of flame,
Spurred to full speed the war-horse came!
The partridge may the falcon mock,
If that slight palfrey stand the shock;
But, swerving from the knight's career,
Just as they met, Bruce shunned the spear.
Onward the baffled warrior bore
His course—but soon his course was o’er!
High in his stirrups stood the king,
And gave his battle-axe the swing.
Right on De Boune, the whiles he passed,
Feil that stern dint—the first—the last! -
Such strength upon the blow was put,
The helmet crushed like hazel-nut;
The axe-shaft, with its brazen clasp,
Was shivered to the gauntlet-grasp.
Springs from the blow the startled horse,
Drops to the plain a lifeless corse;
First of the fatal field, how soon,
How sudden, fell the fierce De Boune!
14 Tourney, a mock combat.
Is a poet whose fame is inferior to his merits. He possesses an imagination of a gorgeous and almost oriental cast: in all his descriptions there is a profusion of magnificence and splendour, that shows the vast resources of the author's mind; but which not unfrequently dazzles and confounds an ordinary reader.
THE ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM.
The air is filled with shouts and trumpets sounding ;
A host are at thy gates, Jerusalem.
Now is their van the Mount of Olives rounding;
Above them Judah's lion-banners gleam,
Twined with the palm and olive's peaceful stem.
Now swell the nearer sounds of voice and string,
As down the hill-side pours the living stream;
And to the cloudless heaven Hosannas ring
“The Son of David comes! the Conqueror-the King!”
The cuirassed Roman heard, and grasped his shield,
And rushed in fiery haste to gate and tower;
The pontiff from his battlement beheld
The host, and knew the falling of his power:
He saw the cloud on Sion's glory lour.
Still down the marble road the myriads come,
Spreading the way with garment, branch, and flower,
And deeper sounds are mingling: “Woe to Rome!
The day of freedom dawns; rise, Israel, from thy tomb."
Temple of beauty-long that day is done;
Thy ark is dust; thy golden cherubim
In the fierce triumphs of the foe are gone;
The shades of ages on thy altars swim.
Yet still a light is there, though wavering dim!
And has its holy lamp been watched in vain?
Or lives it not until the finished time,
When He who fixed, shall break his people's chain,
And Sion be the loved, the crowned of God again?
He comes, yet with the burning bolt unarmed;
Pale, pure, prophetic, God of Majesty!
Though thousands, tens of thousands, round him swarmed,
None durst abide the depth divine of eye;
None durst the waving of his robe draw nigh,
But at his feet was laid the Roman's sword:
There Lazarus knelt to see his King pass by;
There Jairus, with his age's child, adored. “He comes, the King of kings; Hosanna to the Lord!”
THE DEAD SEA',
THE wind blows chill across those gloomy waves ;
Oh! how unlike the green and dancing main!
The surge is foul, as if it rolled o'er graves :
Stranger, here lie the cities of the plain.
Yes, on that plain, by wild waves covered now,
Rose palace once, and sparkling pinnacle;
On pomp and spectacle beamed morning's glow,
On pomp and festival the twilight fell.
Lovely and splendid all,—but Sodom's soul
Was stained with blood, and pride, and perjury; Long warned, long spared, till her whole heart was foul,
And fiery vengeance on its clouds came nigh. And still she mocked, and danced, and, taunting, spoke
Her sportive blasphemies against the Throne: It came! The thunder on her slumber broke:
God spake the word of wrath! Her dream was done. Yet in her final night, amid her stood
Immortal messengers, and pausing Heaven Pleaded with man: but she was quite imbued,
Her last hour waned, she scorned to be forgiven! 'Twas done! down poured at once the sulphurous shower,
Down stooped, in flame, the heaven's red canopy. Oh! for the arm of God, in that fierce hour!
'Twas vain; nor help of God or man was nigh. They rush, they bound, they howl, the men of sin;
Still stooped the cloud, still burst the thicker blaze; The earthquake heaved!' Then sank the hideous din
Yon wave of darkness o'er their ashes strays.
BELLATOR MORIENS". In the dim chamber, on his couch of Ind, Hung round with crest, and sword, and knightly vane, Was stretched a cuirassed form, that inly pined With memories keener than his mortal pain;
And oft around his darkening eyes would strain,
As if some evil visitant were come;
Then press his wasted hand upon his brain,
Mutter low words, and beckon through the gloom,
And grasp his couch, as if he saw the opening tomb.
The fearful secret murmured from his lips
'Twas “Murder;" but his voice was now a sigh;
For o'er his spirit gathered swift eclipse.
He strove to dash the darkness from his eye,
Then smote with nerveless hand upon his thigh;
But there the sword was not; a deeper groan,
A start as if the summoner was nigh,--
Told his last pangs; his eye was fixed as stone
There lay a livid corse, the master of a throne !
THE RETREAT OF THE FRENCH ARMY FROM MOSCOW.
MAGNIFICENCE of ruin; what has time
In all it ever gazed upon of war,
Of the wild rage of storm, or deadly clime,
Seen with that battle's vengeance to compare?
How glorious shone the invaders' pomp afar!
Like pampered lions from the spoil they came;
The land before them silence and despair,
The land behind them massacre and flame;
Blood will have tenfold blood. What are they now? A name.
Homeward by hundred thousands, column deep,
Broad square, loose squadron, rolling like the flood
When mighty torrents from their channels leap,
Rushed through the land the haughty multitude,
Billow on endless billow: on through wood,
O'er rugged hill, down sunless, marshy vale,
The death-devoted moved, to clangour rude
Of drum and horn and dissonant clash of mail,
Glancing disastrous light before that sunbeam pale.
Again they reached thee, Borodino3! still
Upon the loaded soil the carnage lay,
The human harvest, now stark, stiff, and chill,
Friend, foe, stretched thick together, clay to clay;
In vain the startled legions burst away;
The land was all one naked sepulchre,
The shrinking eye still glanced on grim decay,
Still did the hoof and wheel their passage tear,
Through cloven helms and arms, and corpses mouldering drear.
The field was as they left it ; fosses and fort
Streaming with slaughter still, but desolate,
The cannon flung dismantled by its port;
Each knew the mound, the black ravine whose strait
Was won and lost, and thronged with dead, till fate
Had fixed upon the victor-half undone.
There was the hill from which their eyes elate
Had seen the burst of Moscow's golden zone;
But death was at their heels, they shuddered and rushed on.
The hour of vengeance strikes. Hark to the gale!
As it bursts hollow through the rolling clouds,
That from the north in sullen grandeur sail
Like floating Alps. Advancing darkness broods
Upon the wild horizon, and the woods,
Now sinking into brambles, echo shrill,
As the gust sweeps them, and those upper floods
Shoot on their leafless boughs the sleet-drops chill,
That on the hurrying crowds in freezing showers distil.
They reach the wilderness! The majesty
Of solitude is spread before their gaze,
Stern nakedness,—dark earth and wrathful sky.
If ruins were, they long had ceased to blaze;
If blood was shed, the ground no more betrays,
E'en by a skeleton, the crime of man;
Behind them rolls the deep and drenching haze,
Wrapping their rear in night, before their van
The struggling daylight shows the unmeasured desert wan.
Still on they sweep, as if their hurrying march
Could bear them from the rushing of His wheel
Whose chariot is the whirlwind. Heaven's clear arch
At once is covered with a livid veil,
In mixed and fighting heaps the deep clouds reel.
Upon the dense horizon hangs the sun,
In sanguine light, an orb of burning steel;
The snows wheel down through twilight thick and dun. Now tremble, men of blood, the judgment has begun!