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Who would venture upon the journey of life, if compelled to begin it at the end?

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Focused Upon The Wax

An entertained mind seeking to get it easy...
And with a breeze,
Can not be expected to think of life...
As a blessing to accept.
And...
To be taken seriously.

Only when a candle begins to flicker,
Does the wax with the wick burning in it...
Become regarded as important.

But...
In the beginning,
When the freshness of the glow...
Seems to bestow imaginations that go on forever,
Who remains focused upon the wax and its melting?
Not too many.

Just the light and all that sparkles,
With an identifying meaning...
Is wished to linger.

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Who Would Believe? ?

Who would believe? ?
Through the stormy days came an unexpected ‘sorry I heard’
Hands of fate shared my painful news, leaving me so disturbed
Shocked, nervous, hands trembled with fear ‘oh god’ I mumbled…
Now what? Re read the lines as my world twice over tumbled
Heavens smiled, a friend, with good grace, caring hands to my side
To wipe away the tears that I cry and now very muich less to hide
Amazing words so kind, concerned but pity did i really need?
Days rolled into months that slipped into years, quite a speed!
Asleep or awake, am I a dreaming? Grasping hands in desperation
First fascination it was, took me to a world of love and devotion.
Beneath my sorrows, my heartaches and tears I took precaution.
But my heart once torn, tattered now filled with unexplained emotion.
As tender words blossomed a love, a real beaut deepseated forever
Embracing sweetness, hopes to the land where there’s no parting, ever
An illusion.another mirage? came a feeling, touching a heart…
Always at my side despite the distance, many an ocean apart
Unreachable, untouchable many moons ago, true love’s never late
Now who would believe that so close we be….the best of mates?
Rent free in my heart, a place with feelings of everlasting love.
A Sparkling light that never fails to shine from the heavens above.
The harmonious melody plays on, a special music so divine.
A journey flavored.. oh the sweetest fragrance so beautiful a design.

.

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Who Would Cry...?

Who would cry for the little girl,
When she tries to fall asleep?

Who would cry for the little girl,
When she always weeps?

Who would cry for the little girl,
When she doesn’t know if she is in need?

Who would cry for the little girl,
When her heart intends to bleed?

Who would cry for the little girl,
When she felt like she is dying?

Who would cry for the little girl,
Who can’t stop herself from crying?

Who would cry for the little girl,
Who knew well guilt and shame?

Who would cry for the little girl,
Who tries and tries and tries again?

Who would cry for the little girl,
Who does know what is in her to be?

Who would cry for the little girl,
Who would cry for me? ? ?

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Highly Competitive

I 'had' been in those relationships,
With those who thought of me as competition.
And that became unfortunate for them.
Since I was in it for companionship.
You know...
Someone to share and experience life with.

But when I began to realize,
How I was regarded...
Something within me had to prove,
Who would win in the end...
Since when challenged,
I am highly competitive and choose to leave...
All my opponents alone and in amazement.

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Beyond The End

Beyond the end
By: jimmy buffett, marshall chapman, will jennings
1985
We are a long way from anything, I told him. up ahead turn left and
Were fifteen or twenty minutes from cancun. turn right and youve
Got a batch of sixty miles of nothing. so who are we seeing,
Where is he and how do we get in touch.
- travis mcgee from the lonely silver rain
Mayan moon was burnin
We saw visions
Of the past returnin
On the shore
The band was playin
We all heard
What the moon was sayin
The world keeps closin in
It has before
It will again
A voice beyond the wind
Says we must go
Beyond the end
So follow
Beyond the end
A sea of friends are singin
Vaya con dios [go with god]
Mis amigos [my friends]
We take their hopes and feelins
To some new world
Well be revealin
Old worlds keep closin in
They have before
They will again
Voices call
Beyond the wind
Say we must go
Beyond the end
And follow
Beyond the end
(guitar break)
Old worlds keep closin in
They have before
They will again
Voices call
Beyond the wind
Say we must go
Beyond the end
Old worlds (old worlds) keep closin in (keep closin in)
They have before (they have before)
They will again
Voices call (voices call)
Beyond the wind
Say we must go (say we must go)
Beyond the end (beyond the end)
And follow
Beyond the end
Old worlds (old worlds) keep closin in (keep closin in)
They have before
They will again (oh they will again)
Voices call (voices call)
Beyond the wind (beyond the wind)
Say we must go (say-eeee...)
Beyond the end
Old worlds (old worlds) keep closin in (keep closin in) (=roy orbison)
They have before (they have before)
They will again (they will again)
Voices call (voices call)
Beyond the wind (beyond the wind)
Say we must go (say we must go)
Beyond the end (beyond the end...)
Old worlds keep closin in (keep closin in)
They have before (they have before)
They will again (they will again)
Voices call (voices call)
Beyond the wind (beyond the wind)
Say we must go (say we must go)
Beyond the end ...
- notes:
Featuring josh leo on lead guitar and jonathan edwards and roy orbison who
Take us beyond the end
The ocean almanac singers are: timothy b. schmit, harry stinson, larry lee,
Sam clayton, wendy waldman, pam tillis, val & birdie.

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“The Journey Called Life”

From where I have started to where will I end,
The journey has been long, winding and tiring.
From nothing to something… it has never been an easy adventure.

I have been tried with luck; tried with hard works;
I am tried with pains and heartaches too…

I have found love and lost it… I have found new one, I’ve tried to keep it.
I have found friends and only few remains,
I have found money, but it never really stays.

The lesson of journey is uncontainable.
I want to move on as life is moving on…
I wish to move on with it, I want to go on its flow.

To an unpredictable journey called life,
Walking alone in this path, with guts and determination.
By God’s grace and guidance.
I want to continue the journey once more…
A journey where people would remember me
As a lady who won a million smiles and conquer goodbyes.

I keep on taking my unavoidable journey in this deep blue sea with struggles and hopes.
Until one day, my journey will bring me to my destiny, that’s then that I will be home.

-aira

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Wasted upon the ground of life

The streets of life are real
For those of us who learn
What it's really like
To be wasted and alone

In the mire of mud
You watch as life goes by
You wonder who they are
Those that pass by

Your earthly remains
You try to gain control
Of the normality in life
Only to drown
In your burdens of old

The shadows of life
Pound upon your soul
You duck, you fight
What you think is right
Only to learn
It's just an imaginary foe

And then you start to laugh
At the audacity of life
How dare they all ignore you?
Wasted upon the ground of life

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Upon the road of my life,

Upon the road of my life,
Passed me many fair creatures,
Clothed all in white, and radiant.
To one, finally, I made speech:
"Who art thou?"
But she, like the others,
Kept cowled her face,
And answered in haste, anxiously,
"I am good deed, forsooth;
You have often seen me."
"Not uncowled," I made reply.
And with rash and strong hand,
Though she resisted,
I drew away the veil
And gazed at the features of vanity.
She, shamefaced, went on;
And after I had mused a time,
I said of myself,
"Fool!"

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The Man Who Would Be Santa

And the man who would be santa slips into the room
And the hour of daylights yet to come but he hopes they dont wake too soon
All the presents wrapped in paper and tied with a bow
The children sleep upstairs and santa works below
And he can hear the children dreaming
Chorus
And he says
All I want is for you to have
A life you love and live
Take from me all I have to give
Because you are in my heart
And the man who would be santa tells his son to write
And to call him if he needs him in the middle of the night
Dont you worry dont you cry now youll do just fine
Your mother and I love you
We think about you all the time
And he can see the train is leaving
Chorus
Now the old man sits and tells of days when time stood still
The hours always seem to fade but the memory never will
All the love that you gave me
All the dreams in the night
And I just want to thank you while the days still light
But I can see the sun is setting
Chorus

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The Man Who Would Be Santa (live)

And the man who would be Santa slips into the room
And the hour of daylight's yet to come but he hopes they don't wake too soon
All the presents wrapped in paper and tied with a bow
The children sleep upstairs and Santa works below
And he can hear the children dreaming
Chorus
And he says
All I want is for you to have
A life you love and live
Take from me all I have to give
Because you are in my heart
And the man who would be Santa tells his son to write
And to call him if he needs him in the middle of the night
Don't you worry don't you cry now you'll do just fine
Your mother and I love you
We think about you all the time
And he can see the train is leaving
Chorus
Now the old man sits and tells of days when time stood still
The hours always seem to fade but the memory never will
All the love that you gave me
All the dreams in the night
And I just want to thank you while the day's still light
But I can see the sun is setting
Chorus

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For The One Who Would Take Man's Life In His Hands

Tiger Christ unsheathed his sword,
Threw it down, became a lamb.
Swift spat upon the species, but
Took two women to his heart.
Samson who was strong as death
Paid his strength to kiss a slut.
Othello that stiff warrior
Was broken by a woman's heart.
Troy burned for a sea-tax, also for
Possession of a charming whore.
What do all examples show?
What must the finished murderer know?

You cannot sit on bayonets,
Nor can you eat among the dead.
When all are killed, you are alone,
A vacuum comes where hate has fed.
Murder's fruit is silent stone,
The gun increases poverty.
With what do these examples shine?
The soldier turned to girls and wine.
Love is the tact of every good,
The only warmth, the only peace.

"What have I said?" asked Socrates.
"Affirmed extremes, cried yes and no,
Taken all parts, denied myself,
Praised the caress, extolled the blow,
Soldier and lover quite deranged
Until their motions are exchanged.
-What do all examples show?
What can any actor know?
The contradiction in every act,
The infinite task of the human heart."

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Who's Gonna Save The World?

While Man, this Earth's still prone to rape,
There's no great love, no great escape...
While Man on Earth's still prone to pride,
It's this, God's World, that's crucified...
Behold the devastation made
Upon the forest and the glade,
Upon the oceans and the shores...
Yes, Man's condemned by many flaws!

Consider creatures now extinct,
No longer to sweet life now linked,
From minute moths and butterflies,
To giant cats of greater size...
The list goes on and on and on,
This passing year, more species gone
And we'll not see their likes again,
Despite some souls who still campaign...

No wonder, Judgment Day draws near!
No wonder, Man's got cause to fear!
For God so loved the world He gave
His one and only Son to save...
Though He was yet our Sovereign Lord,
The Cross of Christ was His reward!
Yet has Man changed his ways today?
We all like sheep have gone astray...

Consider now with World War Three,
For who can say when that will be?
When bombs descend to maintain peace,
Such that some children that day cease
To breathe the air they've breathed for years,
To die so fast, no time for tears...
The unborn, too, shall not come forth,
No matter, East, West, South or North...

If not, germ warfare, here and there,
That poisons waters and the air,
Such that taxpayers funding these
Will someday die by such disease...
Yes, Man's thought great! He's also dumb,
That's why this poet's heart's turned numb
At thoughts of what remains to be
And Armageddon's destiny...

If not for faith, my heart would fail
Regarding this poor world's travail
Which slaughters senses one-by-one...
There's nothing new beneath the sun...
Unless God heals this sacred Earth,
Not one will still esteem its worth...
But pray with me, while there's still time,
That God will do something sublime...


Denis Martindale, copyright, September 2012.

We can hear the word of the Lord on
Revelation TV on UK Sky Digital 581
as well as the WATCH NOW link on
the revelationtv-dot-com website...

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Who Would You Say Is Addicted

I swallow tablets every day,
They're required for my afflictions,
I never will get hooked on them,
They're all on repeat prescriptions.

I drink some alcohol every day,
Just to be sociable you understand,
I buy it from the pubs and shops,
But I never get out of hand.

I take a pill before I drink,
To subdue my raw aggression,
I also take another one,
This conquers my depression.

I gain comfort from my pills and booze,
So with my appetite to whet,
I go and get my lighter,
Then smoke a cigarette.

I also frequent the bookies,
Where I like to put on a line,
Although I usually lose my stake,
To gamble is just divine.

As I look at all my habits,
None of them hold fears,
I've smoked, I've drank and gambled,
I've shed my share of tears.

Everything thing I do in life,
I stay well within the law,
As I look upon this life of mine,
I cannot find one flaw.

I can boast without a doubt,
Without the need for altercation,
I don't have any issues,
My habits fill me with elation.

I really have a problem though,
With Alkies and those Junkies,
They drink too much and swallow drugs,
They're all a bunch of flunkies.

One needs his bevy every day,
While the other needs his dope,
They smoke their gear, drink all day,
For them there is no hope.

They swallow pills like sweeties,
Some of them inject,
The police should just arrest them all,
Our honour they must protect.

They gamble daily with their lives,
It really makes you sick,
They have a choice the same as me,
But I'm clever, they're all thick.

They'll make the claim they're like that,
Because they feel oppressed,
They need to take their drink and drugs,
We've got them all depressed.

Most of what they do in life,
Is done without a thought,
They carry out illegal acts,
Then hope they don't get caught.

Who do they think they're kidding,
They're just a bunch of thugs,
Why can't they live the same as me,
Lay off the booze and drugs.

They need to stop this gambling,
Their habits cause such a stink,
The depression and the violence,
Is the result of this crucial link.

When you look at both these stories,
Although both equally afflicted,
You be judge and jury,

‘' Who Would You Say Is Addicted''

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When the Night Falls Upon the Alone

When relationships keep failing, it really makes you wonder, am I meant to spend life alone

When the sun falls upon the city
Here you are alone
You think of families
Gathering in their homes
Moms putting a meal on the table
Making sure homework is done
Dads doing catch up work
He had to bring home

Here you are
Watching t.v.
Wondering is there someone
Out there for you
As your sitting home alone

A boyfriend here, a boyfriend there
But nothing really stable, nothing on solid ground
Wondering why is it, there is not anyone here
Sharing what couples share
Wondering who else is sitting
In this world alone

No one to bother you
Doing what you wanna do
No one to interrupt while the t.v. is on
Being able to walk out the door
No one to report to
Where have you been, when are you going to be back
Asking in worry what took you so long

No one to make plans with
The week days so long
Waiting for the weekend
To go out to social places
Watching couples kiss, cuddle
And dance, not going home alone

Someone catching you sitting there
Stuttering over invading your space
Asking, what are you doing here alone
Shrugging your shoulders
I just am

Asking if they could have the empty chair
Can I buy you a drink
Conversation covers topics
Thoughts of taking you home
Till you make it clear
One night stands is not what you do
The night ending with a favorite song

Can I call you sometime
When it dawns on him
Your still
walking out the door
Going home alone

Some day the phone may ring
Would you like to go out to dinner
Would you like to go out dancing
Sometimes it so tiring to be alone

Yea, I know what you mean
And the question is asked
Why are you alone

Your answer is plain
It may even match theirs
Just haven’t found that one
That wants to be focused on a relationship
to make plans that includes two
to wonder where I am when I am late
the moment when thoughts to give
who rings who to see how things are going
to only be with me
yea, I know what you mean
they tell of the story of why
they’re alone
you think this might be it
lets take it slow
see where it may lead us
yet in the mean time
I think I’ll watch the evenings
Come and go
Spending time alone
Till they make up there mind
They don’t want you
Or them to spend their life
Alone

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The Latest Decalogue after Arthur Hugh Clough

The Latest Decalogue

Worship one true God only, who would run to the expense of two?
Your ruin truly will ensue unless you heresy eschew.

Insisting with sincerity in this wise world, where nothing’s free,
no carven icons cruel should we create, except our currency.

We venture here, in vapid verse, the Third Commandment to rehearse, -
swear not at all, for, for your curse, your enemy seems none the worse.

He who the Fourth Commandment penned, my sins and errors must amend,
but, Sir, on Sunday Church attend – ‘twill serve to keep the world thy friend.

Honour thy parents: that is all from whom advancement may befall.
Be prompt to run at beck and call of all who have the wherewithal.

Commandment Six now follows Five, thou shalt not kill, but none need strive
officiously to keep alive, - and thus fulfill ambition’s drive.

Of all the seven sins that sit upon thy soul when Judgement’s writ,
the last, that’s lust, do not commit – for profit seldom comes of it.

Dame Fortune’s smile you would entreat by guile to guild your golden seat?
Then do not steal – an empty feat when its so lucrative to cheat.

Bear not false witness; let the lie have time on its own wings to fly.
Allow your friend himself to tie the noose which round his neck will lie.

Covet your neighbour’s? ‘Tis sedition. In 10th Commandment’s new rendition
anticipating competition, - sedate his horse with expedition!


25 December 1977 robi3_0147_clou1_0003 PXX_EJX
Parody Arthur Hugh Clough 1819_1861 The Latest Decalogue

SEE BELOW FOR THE ORIGINAL AND OTHER PARODIES

The Latest Decalogue


Thou shalt have one God only; who
Would be at the expense of two?
No graven images may be
Worshipped, except the currency:
Swear not at all; for, for thy curse
Thine enemy is none the worse:
At church on Sunday to attend
Will serve to keep the world thy friend:
Honour thy parents, that is, all
From whom advancement may befall;
Thou shalt not kill; but need'st not strive
Officiously to keep alive:
Do not adultery commit;
Advantage rarely comes of it:
Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat,
When it's so lucrative to cheat:
Bear not false witness; let the lie
Have time on its own wings to fly:
Thou shalt not covet, but tradition
Approves all forms of competition.


Arthur Hugh CLOUGH 1819_1861

Decalogue

Thou shalt no God but me adore:
'Twere too expensive to have more.
No images nor idols make
For Roger Ingersoll to break.
Take not God's name in vain: select
A time when it will have effect.
Work not on Sabbath days at all,
But go to see the teams play ball.
Honor thy parents. That creates
For life insurance lower rates.
Kill not, abet not those who kill;
Thou shalt not pay thy butcher's bill.
Kiss not thy neighbor's wife, unless
Thine own thy neighbor doth caress.
Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete
Successfully in business. Cheat.
Bear not false witness-that is low-
But 'hear 'tis rumored so and so.'
Covet thou naught that thou hast got
By hook or crook, or somehow, got.

Ambrose BIERCE 1842_1914 bier1_0002_clou1_0003 PXX_EXX
Parody Arthur Hugh Clough 1819_1861 The Latest Decalogue

The New Decalogue

Have but one God: thy knees were sore
If bent in prayer to three or four.
Adore no images save those
The coinage of thy country shows.
Take not the Name in vain. Direct
Thy swearing unto some effect.
Thy hand from Sunday work be held-
Work not at all unless compelled.
Honor thy parents, and perchance
Their wills thy fortunes may advance.
Kill not-death liberates thy foe
From persecution's constant woe.
Kiss not thy neighbor's wife. Of course
There's no objection to divorce.
To steal were folly, for 'tis plain
In cheating there is greater pain.
Bear not false witness.
Shake your head
And say that you have 'heard it said.'
Who stays to covet ne'er will catch
An opportunity to snatch.

Ambrose BIERCE 1842_1914 bier1_0003_clou1_0003 PXX_EXX
Parody Arthur Hugh Clough 1819_1861 The Latest Decalogue


Latest Decalogue

'The sum of all is, thou shalt love,
If any body, God above:
At any rate shall never labour
More than thyself to love thy neighbour.'

ESTABROOK C G esta1_0001_clou1_0003 PWX_JLX
Parody Arthur Hugh Clough 1819_1861 The Latest Decalogue


Addendum to the Ten Commandments


Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife,
Nor the ox her husband bought her;
But thank the Lord you're not forbidden
To covet your neighbour's daughter.


Parody UN known Author 0021 PUNau PUNau_0021_clou1_0003 PXX_LXX
Parody Arthur Hugh Clough 1819_1861 The Latest Decalogue



Decalogue

Thou shalt not lie but don't believe
Thou art required to undeceive.


Earl WAJENBERG
Parody Arthur Hugh Clough 1819_1861 The Latest Decalogue

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La Fontaine

The Convent Gardener Of Lamporechio

WHEN Cupid with his dart, would hearts assail,
The rampart most secure is not the VEIL;
A husband better will the FAIR protect,
Than walls or lattices, I much suspect.
Those parents, who in nunneries have got
Their daughters (whether willingly or not),
Most clearly in a glaring error prove,
To fancy God will round their actions move;
'Tis an abuse of what we hold divine;
The Devil with them surely must combine.
Besides, 'twere folly to suppose that vice
Ne'er entered convent walls, and nuns were ice.
A very diff'rent sentiment I hold:
Girls, who in publick move, however bold,
Have greater terrors lest they get a stain;
For, honour lost, they never fame regain.
Few enemies their modesty attack;
The others have but one their minds to rack.
TEMPTATION, daughter of the drowsy dame,
That hates to move, and IDLENESS we name,
Is ever practising each wily art,
To spread her snares around the throbbing heart;
And fond DESIRE, the child of lorn CONSTRAINT,
Is anxious to the soul soft scenes to paint.
If I've a worthy daughter made a nun,
Is that a reason she's a saint?--Mere fun!
Avaunt such folly!--three in four you'll find,
Of those who wear the veil--have changed their mind;
Their fingers bite, and often do much worse:
Those convent vows, full soon, become a curse;
Such things at least have sometimes reached my ear
(For doubtless I must speak from others here);
Of his Boccace a merry tale has told,
Which into rhyme I've put, as you'll behold.

WITHIN a nunnery, in days of yore,
A good old man supplied the garden-store;
The nuns, in general, were smart and gay,
And kept their tongues in motion through the day.
Religious duties they regarded less,
Than for the palour to be nice in dress
Arranging ev'ry article to please,
That each might captivate and charm at ease;
The changes constantly they rang around,
And made the convent-walls with din resound.
Eight sisters and an abbess held the place,
And strange to say--there DISCORD you might trace.
All nine had youth, and many beauty too:
Young friars round the place were oft in view,
Who reckoned ev'ry step they took so well,
That always in the proper road they fell.
Th' aged gard'ner, of whom ere now we spoke,
Was oft bewildered, they would so provoke;
Capricious, whimsical, from day to day,
Each would command and try to have her way;
And as they ne'er agreed among themselves,
He suffered more than if with fifty elves;
When one was pleased, another soon complained:
At length to quit the nuns he was constrained.
He left them, poor and wretched as he came;
No cross, pile, money:--e'en his coat the same.

A YOUTH of Lamporechio, gay and bold,
One day this gard'ner met as I am told;
And after conversation 'bout the place,
Said, he should like nun's service to embrace,
And that he wished sincerely to be hired:
He'd gratis do whatever was required.
'Twas clear indeed his object was not pelf;
He thought however he might reward himself;
And as the sisters were not over wise,
A nun he now and then might make his prize;
Proceed from one to more with like address,
Till with the whole he'd had complete success.
Said Nuto (such we find the gard'ner's name),
Believe me, friend, you will be much to blame;
Some other service seek, I recommend;
These convent-dames will ne'er their whimseys end.
I'd rather live without or soup or bread,
Than work for them, however nicely fed.

STRANGE creatures are these nuns, upon my word;
Their ways ridiculous and e'en absurd;
Who, with the sisterhood, has never been,
Has clearly yet, not perfect torment seen,
Such service, prithee, never try to gain;
To do what they require I know is vain;
One will have soft, and t'other asks for hard:
Thou'lt be a fool such ninnies to regard;
No work thou'lt do, whatever be the want:
THIS cabbages,--THAT carrots tells thee plant:
Said t'other, fain I'd bring it to the test;
I'm but a simpleton, it is confessed;
Yet still a month in place, and thou wilt see;
How well I with the convent-dames agree.
The reason is, my life is in its prime,
While thou art sunk in years and worn by time,
I'm proper for their work, and only ask,
To be admitted to the drudging task.
Well, said the former, if resolved to try,
To their factotum instantly apply;
Come; let's away. Lead on, the other cried;
I've got a thought, which I'll to you confide:--
I'll seem an idiot, and quite dumb appear.--
In that, said Nuto, only persevere,
And then perhaps the confessor thou'lt find,
With their factotum carelessly inclined;
No fears nor dark suspicions of a mute:
Thou'lt ev'ry way, my friend, their wishes suit.

THE place, as was expected, soon he got;
And half the grounds to trench, at once his lot:
He acted well the nincompoop and fool,
Yet still was steady to the garden tool;
The nuns continually would flock around,
And much amusement in his anticks found.

ONE day, as sleeping lay our sprightly wight,
Or feigning sleep, no matter which is right,
(Boccace pretends the latter was the fact)
Two nuns (perhaps not two the most exact,)
Observing him extended on the sward,
While summer's heat from air so much debarred;
That few would venture from the convent-roof,
Lest, 'gainst the sun, their cheeks should not be proof:
Said one, approaching him, let's take this fool,
And place him in the garden-house to cool.
The lad was handsome, with engaging mien:
The nun admired the features she had seen,
And Cupid raised a wish to be at ease,
Where she, without restraint, herself might please.
What would you, cried the other, with him do?
You'll see, rejoined the first, if we pursue;
Just what might be expected from the place;
Christ! said the second (with a cross of grace),
You would not surely do what is forbid?
Suppose increase? it never could be hid;
Besides, should we be seen, 'twill be the cause,
Of dire disgrace to break such sacred laws.

WE shall not be observed, the first replied;
These ills thy fancy forms: haste, let's decide,
And seize the moment while 'tis in our reach,
Without regard to what old dotards teach,
Or what may happen at a future hour;
Here's no one near: 'tis fully in our pow'r;
The time and place so thoroughly agree,
'Twill be impossible our freaks to see;
But 'twill be right that one should watch with care;
While t'other with the lad seeks joys to share,
And irksome gloom endeavours to dispel:
He's dumb, you know, and tales can never tell.
The other answered, since 'tis your desire,
I'll acquiesce and do what you require;
You'll take him first: I see it is your aim;
And since it will oblige, I'll wave my claim;
Go, pleasure seek, and satisfy each wish:
You're always anxious for a fav'rite dish;
'Tis only to oblige that I comply.
That, said the other, clearly I descry;
I'm well persuaded, thou art always kind;
But still I think thou would'st not be inclined;
In such a scene to take the leading part,
Thy bashfulness would counteract thy heart.

Some time the squeamish sister watched the spot;
At length the other, who'd her wishes got,
The station took; the lab'rer tried to please
The second as the first, but less at ease;
So many favours fell not to her share,
And only treble comfort proved her fare.

THE garden-path, and summer-house as well,
Were well remembered by each wanton belle;
No need of guides; and soon our spark contrived;
With sister Agnes also to be hived
A press-house at the convent end he chose,
in which he showed her how soft pleasure flows;
Nor Claudia nor Angelica would miss
The dormitory that, and cellar this;
In short the garret and the vaulted cave
Knew fully how the sisters could behave;
Not one but what he first or last regaled
E'en with the rigid abbess he prevailed,
To take a dance, and as the dame required
Her treble share of what was most admired,
The other nuns were oft obliged to fast,
While with the convent-head his time was passed.

To no restoratives our Wight would run;
Though these do little, where much work is done:
So oft the lad was pressed for cheering play,
That with the abbess, when engaged one day,
He said, where'er I go, 'tis common talk,
With only sev'n an able bird should walk,
Yet constantly I've got no less than nine:--
The abbess cried,--A miracle divine!
Here nuns, pray haste, and quickly come around;
We've fasted with success:--his tongue is found.
The eight encircled him with great surprise;
No longer dumb.--they viewed with eager eyes:
A consultation instantly was had,
When 'twas agreed to honour well the lad,
And try to make him secrecy observe;
But if dismissed, from silence he might swerve.
The active youth, well fed, well paid, thus blessed,
Did all he could,--and others did the rest.
He for the nuns procured a little lot,
That afterward two little friars got,
And in the sequel fathers soon became;
The sisters mothers too, in spite of shame;
But never name more justly was applied:
In vain their mysteries they strove to hide.

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AN ELEGY Upon the most Incomparable K. Charles the First

Call for amazed thoughts, a wounded sense
And bleeding Hearts at our Intelligence.
Call for that Trump of Death the Mandrakes Groan
Which kills the Hearers: This befits alone
Our Story which through times vast Kalendar
Must stand without Example or Repair.
What spowts of melting Clowds what endless springs
Powr'd in the Oceans lapp for offerings
Shall feed the hungry torrent of our grief
Too mighty for expression or belief?
Though all those moistures which the brain attracts
Ran from our eyes like gushing Cataracts,
Or our sad accents could out-tongue the Cryes
Which did from mournful Hadadrimmon rise
Since that remembrance of Josiah slain
In our King's murther is reviv'd again.
O pardon me that but from Holy Writ
Our losse allowes no Parallel to it:
Nor call it bold presumption that I dare
Charles with the best of Judah's Kings compare:
The vertues of whose life did I prefer
The Text acquits me for no Flatterer.
For He like David perfect in his trust,
Was never stayn'd like Him, with Blood or Lust.
One who with Solomon in Judgement try'd,
Was quick to comprehend, Wise to decide,
(That even his Judges stood amaz'd to hear
A more transcendent Moover in their Sphear)
Though more Religious: for when doting Love
A while made Solomon Apostate proove
Charles nev'r endur'd the Truth which he profest
To be unfixt by Bosome interest.
Bold as Jehosaphat, yet forc'd to Fight,
And for his own, no unconcerned Right.
Should I recount His constant time of Pray'r
Each rising Morn and Ev'ning Regular
You'ld say his practice preach'd They ought not Eat
Who by devotion first not earn'd their Meat.
Thus Hezekiah He exceeds in Zeal,
Though not (like him) So facile to reveal
The Treasures of Gods House, or His own Heart
To be supplanted by some forcin art.
And that he might in fame with Joash share
When he the ruin'd Temple did repair,
His cost on Paules late ragged Fabrick spent
Must (if no other) be His Monument.
From this Survey the Kingdom may conclude
His Merits, and her Losses Magnitude.
Nor think he flatters or blasphemes, who tells
That Charls exceeds Judea's Parallels,
In whom all Vertues we concentred see
Which 'mongst the best of them divided be.
O weak built Glories! which those Tempests feel
To force you from your firmest bases reel,
What from the stroaks of Chance shall you secure,
When Rocks of Innocence are so unsure?
When the World's only mirror slaughter'd lies,
Envies and Treasons bleeding sacrifize?
As if His stock of Goodnesse could become
No Kalendar, but that of Martyrdom.
See now ye cursed Mountebanks of State,
Who have Eight years for Reformation sate;
You who dire Alva's Counsels did transfer
To Act his Scenes on England's Theater;
You who did pawn your Selves in Publick Faith
To slave the Kingdome by your Pride and Wrath;
Call the whole World to witnesse now, how just,
How well you are responsive to your trust,
How to your King the promise you perform,
With Fasts, and Sermons, and long Prayers sworn,
That you intended Peace and Truth to bring
To make your Charls Europes most Glorious King.
Did you for this Lift up your Hands on high,
To Kill the King, and pluck down Monarchy?
These are the Fruits by your vvild Faction sown,
Which not Imputed are, but Born your own.
For though you wisely seem to wash your Hands,
The Guilt on every Vote and Order stands.
So that convinc'd from all you did before,
Justice must lay the Murther at your Door.
Mark if the Body does not Bleed anew,
In any Circumstance approach'd by You,
From whose each motion we might plain descry
The black Ostents of this late Tragedy.
For when the King through Storms in Scotland bred
To his Great Councel for his shelter fled,
When in that meeting every Error gain'd
Redresses sooner granted, than Complain'd:
Not all those frank Concessions or Amends
Did suit the then too Powerfull Faction's ends,
No Acts of Grace at present would Content,
Nor Promise of Triennial Parl'ament,
Till by a formal Law the King had past
This Session should at Your pleasure last.
So having got the Bitt, and that 'twas known
No power could dissolve You but Your own,
Your gracelesse Junto make such use of this,
As once was practis'd by Semiramis;
Who striving by a subtile Sute to prove
The largenesse of her Husbands Trust and Love,
Did from the much abused King obtain
That for three dayes She might sole Empresse reign:
Before which time expir'd, the bloody Wife
Depriv'd her Lord both of his Crown and Life.
There needs no Comment when your deeds apply
The Demonstration of her Treachery.
Which to effect by Absolon's foul wile
You of the Peoples Heart your Prince beguile;
Urging what Eases they might reap by it
Did you their Legislative Judges sit.
How did you fawn upon, and Court the Rout,
Whose Clamour carry'd your whole Plot about?
How did you thank Seditious men that came
To bring Petitions which your selves did frame?
And lest they wanted Hands to set them on,
You lead the way by throwing the first stone.
For in that Libel after Midnight born,
Wherewith your Faction labour'd till the Morn,
That famous Lye, you a Remonstrance name;
Were not Reproaches your malitious aim?
Was not the King's dishonour your intent
By Slanders to traduce his Government?
All which your spightful Cunning did contrive
Men must receive through your false Perspective,
In which the smallest Spots improved were,
And every Mote a Mountain did appear.
Thus Cæsar by th'ungrateful Senate found
His Life assaulted through his Honor's Wound.
And now to make Him hopelesse to resist,
You guide His Sword by Vote, which as you list
Must Strike or Spare (for so you did enforce
His Hand against His Reason to divorce
Brave Strafford's Life) then wring it quite away
By your usurping Each Militia:
Then seize His Magazines, of which possest
You turn the Weapons 'gainst their Master's Breast.
This done, th'unkennell'd crew of Lawless men
Led down by Watkins, Pennington, and Ven,
Did with confused noise the Court invade;
Then all Dissenters in Both Houses Bay'd.
At which the King amaz'd is forc'd to flye,
The whilst your Mouth's laid on maintain the Cry.
The Royal Game dislodg'd and under Chase,
Your hot Pursute dogs Him from place to place:
Not Saul with greater fury or disdain
Did flying David from Jeshimon's plain
Unto the barren Wildernesse pursue,
Than Cours'd and Hunted is the King by you.
The Mountain Partridge or the Chased Roe
Might now for Emblemes of His Fortune go.
And since all other May-games of the Town
(Save those your selves should make) were Voted down,
The Clam'rous Pu'pit Hollaes in resort,
Inviting men to your King-catching Sport.
Where as the Foyl grows cold you mend the Sent
By crying Privilege of Parliament,
Whose fair Pretensions the first sparkles are,
Which by your breath blown up enflame the War,
And Ireland (bleeding by design) the Stale
Wherewith for Men and Mony you prevail.
Yet doubting that Imposture could not last,
When all the Kingdoms Mines of Treasure waste,
You now tear down Religion's sacred Hedge
To carry on the Work by Sacriledge;
Reputing it Rebellions fittest Pay
To take both God's and Cesar's dues away.
The tenor of which execrable Vote
Your over-active Zelots so promote,
That neither Tomb nor Temple could escape,
Nor Dead nor Living your Licentious Rape.
Statues and Grave-stones o're men buried
Rob'd of their Brass, the Coffins of their Led;
Not the Seventh Henry's gilt and curious Skreen,
Nor those which 'mongst our Rarities were seen,
The Chests wherein the Saxon Monarchs lay,
But must be basely sold or thrown away.
May in succeeding times forgotten be
Those bold Examples of Impiety,
Which were the Ages wonder and discourse,
You have Their greatest ills improv'd by worse.
No more be mention'd Dionysius Theft,
Who of their Gold the Heathen Shrines bereft;
For who with Yours His Robberies confer,
Must him repute a petty Pilferer.
Nor Julian's Scoff, who when he view'd the State
Of Antioch's Church, the Ornaments and Plate,
Cry'd, Meaner Vessels would serve turn, or None
Might well become the birth of Mary's Sonn
Nor how that spightfull Atheist did in scorn
Pisse on God's Table, which so oft had born
The hallow'd Elements his death present:
Nor he that fould it with his Excrement,
Then turn'd the Cloth unto that act of shame,
Which without trembling Christians should not name.
Nor John of Leyden, who the pillag'd Quires
Employ'd in Munster for his own attires;
His pranks by Hazlerig exceeded be,
A wretch more wicked and as mad as he,
Who once in triumph led his Sumpter Moil
Proudly bedecked with the Altar's spoil.
Nor at Bizantium's sack how Mahomet
In St. Sophia's Church his Horses set.
Nor how Belshazzar at his drunken Feasts
Carows'd in holy Vessels to his Guests:
Nor he that did the Books and Anthems tear,
Which in the daily Stations used were.
These were poor Essayes of imperfect Crimes,
Fit for beginners in unlearned times,
Siz'd onely for that dull Meridian
Which knew no Jesuit nor Puritan,
(Before whose fatal Birth were no such things
As Doctrines to Depose and Murther Kings.)
But since Your prudent care Enacted well,
That there should be no King in Israel,
England must write such Annals of Your Reign
Which all Records of elder mischiefs stain.
Churches unbuilt by order, others burn'd;
Whilst Pauls and Lincoln are to Stables turn'd;
And at God's Table you might Horses see
By (those more Beasts) their Riders manger'd be.
Some Kitchins and some Slaughter-houses made,
Communion-boards and Cloths for Dressers laid:
Some turn'd to loathsome Gaols, so by you brought
Unto the Curse of Baal's House, a Draught.
The Common-Prayers with the Bibles torn,
The Coaps in Antick Moorish-Dances worn,
And sometimes for the wearers greater mock,
The Surplice is converted to a Frock.
Some bringing Dogs the Sacrament revile,
Some with Copronimus the Font defile.
O God! canst Thou these prophanations like?
If not, why is thy Thunder slow to strike
The cursed Authors? who dare think that Thou
Dost, when not punish them, their acts allow.
All which outragious Crimes, though your pretence
Would fasten on the Soldiers insolence,
We must believe that what by them was done
Came licens'd forth by your probation.
For, as your selves with Athaliah's Brood
In strong contention for precedence stood,
You robb'd Two Royall Chapels of their Plate,
Which Kings and Queens to God did dedicate;
Then by a Vote more sordid than the Stealth,
Melt down and Coin it for the Common-wealth;
That is, give't up to the devouring jaws
Of your great Idol Bell, new styl'd The Cause.
And though this Monster you did well devise
To feed by Plunder, Taxes, Loans, Excise;
(All which Provisions You the People tell
Scarce serve to diet Your Pantagruel.)
We no strew'd Ashes need to trace the Cheat,
Who plainly see what Mouthes the Messes eat.
Brave Reformation! and a through one too,
Which to enrich Your selves must All undo.
Pray tell us (those that can) What fruits have grown
From all Your Seeds in Blood and Treasure sown?
What would you mend? when Your Projected State
Doth from the Best in Form degenerate?
Or why should You (of All) attempt the Cure,
Whose Facts nor Gospels Test nor Laws endure?
But like unwholsome Exhalations met
From Your Conjunction onely Plagues beget,
And in Your Circle, as Imposthumes fill
Which by their venome the whole Body kill;
For never had You Pow'r but to Destroy,
Nor Will, but where You Conquer'd to Enjoy.
This was Your Master-prize, who did intend
To make both Churhch and Kingdom's prey Your End.
'Gainst which the King (plac'd in the Gap) did strive
By His (till then unquestion'd) Negative,
Which finding You lack'd Reason to perswade,
Your Arguments are into Weapons made;
So to compell him by main force to yield,
You had a Formed Army in the Field
Before his Reared Standard could invite
Ten men upon his Righteous Cause to fight.
Yet ere those raised Forces did advance,
Your malice struck him dead by Ordinance,
When your Commissions the whole Kingdom swept
With Blood and Slaughter, Not the King Except.
Now hardned in Revolt, You next proceed
By Pacts to strengthen each Rebellious Deed,
New Oaths, and Vows, and Covenants advance,
All contradicting your Allegiance,
Whose Sacred knot you plainly did unty,
When you with Essex swore to Live and Die.
These were your Calves in Bethel and in Dan,
Which Jeroboam's Treason stablish can,
Who by strange Pacts and Altars did seduce
The People to their Laws and and King's abuse;
All which but serve like Soibboleth to try
Those who pronounc'd not your Conspiracy;
That when your other Trains defective are,
Forc'd Oaths might bring Refusers to the Snare.
And lest those men your Counsels did pervert,
Might when your Fraud was seen the Cause desert,
A fierce Decree is through the Kingdom sent,
Which made it Death for any to Repent.
What strange Dilemmaes doth Rebellion make?
'Tis mortal to Deny, or to Partake:
Some Hang who would not aid your Traiterous Act,
Others engag'd are Hang'd if they Retract.
So Witches who their Contracts have unsworn,
By their own Devils are in pieces torn.
Thus still the rageing Tempest higher grows,
Which in Extreams the Kings Resolving throws.
The face of Ruine every where appears,
And Acts of Outrage multiply our fears;
Whilst blind Ambition by Successes fed
Hath You beyond the bound of Subjects led,
Who tasting once the sweet of Regal Sway,
Resolved now no longer to obey.
For Presbyterian pride contests as high
As doth the Popedom for Supremacy.
Needs must you with unskilful Phaeton
Aspire to guide the Chariot of the Sun,
Though your ill-govern'd height with lightning be
Thrown headlong from his burning Axle-tree.
You will no more Petition or Debate,
But your desire in Propositions state,
Which by such Rules and Ties the King confine,
They in effect are Summons to Resign.
Therefore your War is manag'd with such sleight,
'Twas seen you more prevail'd by Purse than Might;
And those you could not purchase to your will,
You brib'd with sums of mony to sit still.
The King by this time hopelesse here of Peace,
Or to procure His wasted Peoples ease,
Which He in frequent Messages had try'd,
By you as oft as shamelesly deny'd;
Wearied by faithlesse Friends and restlesse Foes,
To certain hazard doth His Life Expose:
When through your Quarters in a mean disguise
He to His Country-men for succour flies,
Who met a brave occasion then to save
Their Native King from His untimely Grave:
Had he from them such fair reception gain'd,
Wherewith ev'n Achish David entertain'd.
But Faith to Him or hospitable Laws
In your Confederate Union were no Clause,
Which back to you their Rendred Master sends
To tell how He was us'd among his friends.
Far be it from my thoughts by this black Line
To measure all within that Warlick Clime;
The still admir'd Montross some Numbers lead
In his brave steps of Loyalty to tread.
I onely tax a furious Party There,
Who with our Native Pests Enleagued were.
Then 'twas you follow'd Him with Hue and Cry,
Made Midnight Searches in Each Liberty,
Voting it death to all without Reprieve,
Who should their Master Harbor or Relieve.
Ev'n in pure pitty of both Nations Fame,
I wish that Act in Story had no name.
When all your Mutual Stipulations are
Converted at Newcastle to a Fair,
Where (like His Lord) the King the Mart is made,
Bought with Your Mony, and by Them Betraid;
For both are guilty, They that did Contract,
And You that did the fatal Bargain Act.
Which who by equal Reason shall peruse,
Must yet conclude, They had the best Excuse:
For doubtlesse They (Good men) had never sold,
But that you tempted Them with English Gold;
And 'tis no wonder if with such a Sum
Our Brethrens frailty might be overcome.
What though hereafter it may prove Their Lot
To be compared with Iscariot?
Yet will the World perceive which was most wise,
And who the Nobler Traitor by the Price;
For though 'tis true Both did Themselves undo,
They made the better Bargain of the Two,
Which all may reckon who can difference
Two hundred thousand Pounds from Thirty Pence.
However something is in Justice due,
Which may be spoken in defence of You;
For in your Masters Purchase you gave more,
Than all your Jewish kindred paid before.
And had you wisely us'd what then you bought,
Your Act might be a Loyal Ransom thought,
To free from Bonds your Captive Soverain,
Restoring Him to his lost Crown again.
But You had other plots, you busie hate
Ply'd all advantage on His fallen State,
And shew'd You did not come to bring Him Bayl,
But to remove Him to a stricter Gaol,
To Holmby first, whence taken from His Bed,
He by an Army was in triumph led;
Till on pretence of safety Cromwel's wile
Had juggel'd Him into the Fatal Isle,
Where Hammond for his Jaylor is decreed,
And Murderous Rolf as Lieger-Hangman fee'd,
Who in one fatal Knot Two Counsels tye,
He must by Poison or by Pistol Die.
Here now deny'd all Comforts due to Life,
His Friends, His Children, and His Peerlesse Wife;
From Carisbrook He oft but vainly sends,
And though first Wrong'd, seeks to make you Amends;
For this He sues, and by His restlesse Pen
Importunes Your deaf Ears to Treat agen.
Whilst the proud Faction scorning to go lesse,
Return those Trait'rous Votes of Non Address,
Which follow'd were by th'Armies thundring
To Act without and quite against the King.
Yet when that Clowd remov'd, and the clear Light,
Drawn from His weighty Reasons, gave You sight
Of Your own dangers, had not Their Intents
Retarded been by some crosse Accidents;
Which for a while with fortunate Suspense
Check'd or diverted Their swoln Insolence:
When the whole Kingdom for a Treaty cry'd,
Which gave such credit to Your falling side,
That you Recall'd those Votes, and God once more
Your Power to save the Kingdom did restore,
Remember how Your peevish Treators sate,
Not to make Peace, but to prolong Debate;
How You that precious time at first delay'd,
And what ill use of Your advantage made,
As if from Your foul hands God had decreed
Nothing but War and Mischief should succeed.
For when by easie Grants the Kings Assent
Did your desires in greater things prevent,
When He did yield faster than You intreat,
And more than Modesty dares well repeat;
Yet not content with this, without all sense,
Or of His Honor or His Conscience,
Still you prest on, till you too late descry'd,
'Twas now lesse safe to stay than be deny'd.
For like a Flood broke loose the Armed Rout,
Then Shut Him closer up, And Shut You out,
Who by just vengeance are since Worryed
By those Hand-wolves You for His Ruine bred.
Thus like Two Smoaking Firebrands, You and They
Have in this Smother choak'd the Kingdom's Day.
And as you rais'd Them first, must share the Guilt,
With all the Blood in those Distractions spilt.
For though with Sampson's Foxes backward turn'd,
(When he Philistia's fruitful Harvest burn'd)
The face of your opinions stands averse,
All your Conclusions but one fire disperse;
And every Line which carries your Designes,
In the same Centre of Confusion joyns.
Though then the Independents end the Work,
'Tis known they took their Platform from the Kirk;
Though Pilate Bradshaw with his pack of Jews
God's High Vice-gerent at the Bar accuse,
They but reviv'd the Evidence and Charge
Your poys'nous Declarations laid at large;
Though they condemn'd or made his Life their Spoil,
You were the Setters forc'd him to the Toil:
For you whose fatal hand the Warrant writ,
The Prisoner did for Execution fit.
And if their Ax invade the Regal Throat,
Remember you first murther'd Him by Vote.
Thus They receive Your Tennis at the bound,
Take off that Head which you had first Un-crown'd;
Which shews the Texture of our Mischiefs Clew,
If ravel'd to the Top, begins in You,
Who have forever stain'd the brave Intents
And Credit of our English Parliaments:
And in this One caus'd greater Ills, and more,
Than all of theirs did Good that went before.
Yet have you kept your word against Your will,
Your King is Great indeed and Glorious still,
And you have made Him so. We must impute
That Lustre which His Sufferings contribute
To your preposterous Wisdoms, who have done
All your good Deeds by Contradiction:
For as to work His Peace you rais'd this Strife,
And often Shot at Him to Save His Life;
As you took from Him to Encrease His wealth,
And kept Him Pris'ner to secure His Health:
So in revenge of your dissembled Spight,
In this last Wrong you did Him greatest Right,
And (cross to all you meant) by Plucking down
Lifted Him up to His Eternal Crown.
With This encircled in that radiant Sphear,
Where Thy black Murtherers must ne'r appear,
Thou from th'enthroned Martyrs Blood-stain'd Line,
Dost in thy Vertues bright Example shine.
And when Thy darted Beam from the moist Sky
Nightly salutes Thy grieving Peoples Eye,
Thou like some Warning Light rais'd by our fears,
Shalt both provoke and still supply our Tears:
Til the Great Prophet wak'd from his long sleep
Again bids Sion for Josiah weep:
That all Successions by a firm Decree
May teach Their Children to lament for Thee.
Beyond these mournful Rites there is no Art
Or Cost can Thee preserve. Thy better Part
Lives in despight of Death, and will endure
Kept safe in Thy unpattern'd Portraicture:
Which though in Paper drawn by thine own Hand,
Shall longer than Corinthian-Marble stand,
Or Iron Sculptures: There Thy matchlesse Pen
Speaks Thee the Best of Kings as Best of Men:
Be this Thy Epitaph: for This alone
Deserves to carry Thy Inscription.
And 'tis but modest Truth: so may I thrive)
As not to please the Best of Thine Alive,
Of flatter my dead Master, here would I
Pay my last Duty in a Gloriovs Ly)
In that Admired Piece the world may read
Thy Vertues and Misfortunes Storied;
Which bear such curious Mixture, men must doubt
Whether Thou Wiser wert or more Devout.
There live Blest Relick of a Saint-like mind,
With Honors endlesse, as Thy Peace Enshrin'd.
Whilst we, divided by that Bloody Clowd,
Whose purple Mists Thy Murther'd Body shrowd,
Here stay behind at gaze: Apt for Thy sake
Unruly murmurs now 'gainst Heav'n to make,
Which binds us to Live well, yet gives no Fense
To guard her dearest Sons from Violence.
But He whose Trump proclaims, Revenge is Mine,
Bids us our Sorrow by our Hope confine,
And reconcile our Reason to our Faith,
Which in Thy Ruine such Concussions hath,
It dares Conclude, God does not keep His Word
If Zimri die in Peace that slew his Lord.

From my sad Retirement March 11. 1648. CaroLVs stVart reX angLIæ seCVre CoesVs VIta CessIt trICessIMo IanVarII.

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John Dryden

The Wife Of Bath Her Tale

In days of old, when Arthur filled the throne,
Whose acts and fame to foreign lands were blown,
The king of elves, and little fairy queen,
Gambolled on heaths, and danced on every green;
And where the jolly troop had led the round,
The grass unbidden rose, and marked the ground.
Nor darkling did they dance, the silver light
Of Phœbe served to guide their steps aright,
And, with their tripping pleased, prolong the night.
Her beams they followed, where at full she played,
Nor longer than she shed her horns they staid,
From thence with airy flight to foreign lands conveyed.
Above the rest our Britain held they dear,
More solemnly they kept their sabbaths here,
And made more spacious rings, and revelled half the year.
I speak of ancient times; for now the swain
Returning late may pass the woods in vain,
And never hope to see the nightly train;
In vain the dairy now with mints is dressed,
The dairy-maid expects no fairy guest
To skim the bowls, and after pay the feast.
She sighs, and shakes her empty shoes in vain,
No silver penny to reward her pain;1
For priests with prayers, and other godly gear,
Have made the merry goblins disappear;
And where they played their merry pranks before,
Have sprinkled holy water on the floor;
And friars that through the wealthy regions run,
Thick as the motes that twinkle in the sun,
Resort to farmers rich, and bless their halls,
And exorcise the beds, and cross the walls:
This makes the fairy quires forsake the place,
When once ‘tis hallowed with the rites of grace:
But in the walks, where wicked elves have been,
The learning of the parish now is seen;
The midnight parson, posting o’er the green,
With gown tucked up, to wakes; for Sunday next,
With humming ale encouraging his text;
Nor wants the holy leer to country-girl betwixt.
From fiends and imps he sets the village free,
There haunts not any incubus but he.
The maids and women need no danger fear
To walk by night, and sanctity so near;
For by some haycock, or some shady thorn,
He bids his beads both even-song and morn.
It so befel in this king Arthur’s reign,
A lusty knight was pricking o’er the plain;
A bachelor he was, and of the courtly train.
It happened as he rode, a damsel gay
In russet robes to market took her way;
Soon on the girl he cast an amorous eye,
So straight she walked, and on her pasterns high:
If seeing her behind he liked her pace,
Now turning short, he better likes her face.
He lights in haste, and, full of youthful fire,
By force accomplished his obscene desire.
This done, away he rode, not unespied,
For swarming at his back, the country cried:
And once in view they never lost the sight,
But seized, and pinioned brought to court the knight.
Then courts of kings were held in high renown,
Ere made the common brothels of the town;
There, virgins honourable vows received,
But chaste as maids in monasteries lived:
The king himself, to nuptial ties a slave,
No bad example to his poets gave;
And they, not bad, but in a vicious age,
Had not, to please the prince, debauched the stage.2
Now what should Arthur do? He loved the knight,
But sovereign monarchs are the source of right:
Moved by the damsel’s tears and common cry,
He doomed the brutal ravisher to die.
But fair Geneura rose in his defence,
And prayed so hard for mercy from the prince,
That to his queen the king the offender gave,
And left it in her power to kill or save.
This gracious act the ladies all approve,
Who thought it much a man should die for love;
And with their mistress joined in close debate,
(Covering their kindness with dissembled hate,)
If not to free him, to prolong his fate.
At last agreed, they call him by consent
Before the queen and female parliament;
And the fair speaker rising from the chair,
Did thus the judgment of the house declare.
‘Sir knight, though I have asked thy life, yet still
Thy destiny depends upon my will:
Nor hast thou other surety, than the grace
Not due to thee from our offended race.
But as our kind is of a softer mould,
And cannot blood without a sigh behold,
I grant thee life; reserving still the power
To take the forfeit when I see my hour;
Unless thy answer to my next demand
Shall set thee free from our avenging hand.
The question, whose solution I require,
Is, What the sex of women most desire?
In this dispute thy judges are at strife;
Beware; for on thy wit depends thy life.
Yet (lest, surprised, unknowing what to say,
Thou damn thyself) we give thee farther day;
A year is thine to wander at thy will;
And learn from others, if thou want’st the skill.
But, not to hold our proffer turned to scorn,
Good sureties will we have for thy return,
That at the time prefixed thou shalt obey,
And at thy pledge’s peril keep thy day.’
Woe was the knight at this severe command,
But well he knew ’twas bootless to withstand.
The terms accepted, as the fair ordain,
He put in bail for his return again;
And promised answer at the day assigned,
The best, with Heaven’s assistance, he could find.
His leave thus taken, on his way he went
With heavy heart, and full of discontent,
Misdoubting much, and fearful of the event.
’Twas hard the truth of such a point to find,
As was not yet agreed among the kind.
Thus on he went; still anxious more and more,
Asked all he met, and knocked at every door;
Inquired of men; but made his chief request
To learn from women what they loved the best.
They answered each according to her mind,
To please herself, not all the female kind.
One was for wealth, another was for place;
Crones, old and ugly, wished a better face;
The widow’s wish was oftentimes to wed;
The wanton maids were all for sport a-bed;
Some said the sex were pleased with handsome lies,
And some gross flattery loved without disguise.
‘Truth is,’ says one, ‘he seldom fails to win
Who flatters well; for that’s our darling sin.
But long attendance, and a duteous mind,
Will work even with the wisest of the kind.’
One thought the sex’s prime felicity
Was from the bonds of wedlock to be free;
Their pleasures, hours, and actions all their own,
And uncontrolled to give account to none.
Some wish a husband-fool; but such are curst,
For fools perverse of husbands are the worst:
All women would be counted chaste and wise,
Nor should our spouses see but with our eyes;
For fools will prate; and though they want the wit
To find close faults, yet open blots will hit;
Though better for their ease to hold their tongue,
For woman-kind was never in the wrong.
So noise ensues, and quarrels last for life;
The wife abhors the fool, the fool the wife.
And some men say, that great delight have we
To be for truth extolled, and secresy:
And constant in one purpose still to dwell,
And not our husband’s counsels to reveal.
But that’s a fable: for our sex is frail,
Inventing rather than not tell a tale.
Like leaky sieves no secrets we can hold;
Witness the famous tale that Ovid told.
Midas, the king, as in his book appears,
By Phœbus was endowed with ass’s ears,
Which under his long locks he well concealed,
(As monarch’s vices must not be revealed)
For fear the people have them in the wind,
Who long ago were neither dumb nor blind;
Nor apt to think from Heaven their title springs,
Since Jove and Mars left off begetting kings.
This Midas knew; and durst communicate
To none but to his wife his ears of state;
One must be trusted, and he thought her fit,
As passing prudent, and a parlous wit.
To this sagacious confessor he went,
And told her what a gift the gods had sent;
But told it under matrimonial seal,
With strict injunction never to reveal.
The secret heard, she plighted him her troth,
(And sacred sure is every woman’s oath,)
The royal malady should rest unknown,
Both for her husband’s honour and her own:
But ne’ertheless she pined with discontent;
The counsel rumbled till it found a vent.
The thing she knew she was obliged to hide;
By interest and by oath the wife was tied,
But if she told it not, the woman died.
Loath to betray a husband and a prince,
But she must burst, or blab, and no pretence
Of honour tied her tongue from self-defence.
A marshy ground commodiously was near,
Thither she ran, and held her breath for fear,
Lest if a word she spoke of any thing,
That word might be the secret of the king.
Thus full of counsel to the fen she went,
Griped all the way, and longing for a vent;
Arrived, by pure necessity compelled,
On her majestic marrow bones she kneeled;
Then to the water’s brink she laid her head,
And as a bittour bumps within a reed,3
To thee alone, O lake,’ she said, ‘I tell,
(And, as thy queen, command thee to conceal,)
Beneath his locks, the king my husband wears
A goodly royal pair of ass’s ears:
Now I have eased my bosom of the pain,
Till the next longing fit return again.’
Thus through a woman was the secret known;
Tell us, and in effect you tell the town.
But to my tale. The knight with heavy cheer,
Wandering in vain, had now consumed the year;
One day was only left to solve the doubt,
Yet knew no more than when he first set out.
But home he must, and as the award had been,
Yield up his body captive to the queen.
In this despairing state he happed to ride,
As fortune led him, by a forest side;
Lonely the vale, and full of horror stood,
Brown with the shade of a religious wood;
When full before him at the noon of night,
(The moon was up, and shot a gleamy light,)
He saw a quire of ladies in a round
That featly footing seemed to skim the ground;
Thus dancing hand in hand, so light they were,
He knew not where they trod, on earth or air.
At speed he drove, and came a sudden guest,
In hope where many women were, at least
Some one by chance might answer his request.
But faster than his horse the ladies flew,
And in a trice were vanished out of view.
One only hag remained: but fouler far
Than grandame apes in Indian forests are:
Against a withered oak she leaned her weight,
Propped on her trusty staff, not half upright,
And dropped an awkward courtesy to the knight.
Then said, ‘What makes you, sir, so late abroad
Without a guide, and this no beaten road?
Or want you aught that here you hope to find,
Or travel for some trouble in your mind?
The last I guess; and if I read aright,
Those of our sex are bound to serve a knight.
Perhaps good counsel may your grief assuage,
Then tell your pain, for wisdom is in age.’
To this the knight: ‘Good mother, would you know
The secret cause and spring of all my woe?
My life must with to-morrow’s light expire,
Unless I tell what women most desire.
Now could you help me at this hard essay,
Or for your inborn goodness, or for pay,
Yours is my life, redeemed by your advice,
Ask what you please, and I will pay the price:
The proudest kerchief of the court shall rest
Well satisfied of what they love the best.’
‘Plight me thy faith,’ quoth she, ‘that what I ask,
Thy danger over, and performed thy task,
That thou shalt give for hire of thy demand;
Here take thy oath, and seal it on my hand;
I warrant thee, on peril of my life,
Thy words shall please both widow, maid, and wife.’
More words there needed not to move the knight,
To take her offer, and his truth to plight.
With that she spread a mantle on the ground,
And, first inquiring whither he was bound,
Bade him not fear, though long and rough the way,
At court he should arrive ere break of day:
His horse should find the way without a guide.
She said: with fury they began to ride,
He on the midst, the beldam at his side.
The horse, what devil drove I cannot tell,
But only this, they sped their journey well;
And all the way the crone informed the knight,
How he should answer the demand aright.
To court they came; the news was quickly spread
Of his returning to redeem his head.
The female senate was assembled soon,
With all the mob of women of the town:
The queen sat lord chief justice of the hall,
And bade the crier cite the criminal.
The knight appeared; and silence they proclaim:
Then first the culprit answered to his name;
And, after forms of law, was last required
To name the thing that women most desired.
The offender, taught his lesson by the way,
And by his counsel ordered what to say,
Thus bold began:—‘My lady liege,’ said he,
‘What all your sex desire is—SOVEREIGNTY.
The wife affects her husband to command;
All must be hers, both money, house, and land:
The maids are mistresses even in their name,
And of their servants full dominion claim.
This, at the peril of my head, I say,
A blunt plain truth, the sex aspires to sway,
You to rule all, while we, like slaves, obey.’
There was not one, or widow, maid, or wife,
But said the knight had well deserved his life.
Even fair Geneura, with a blush, confessed
The man had found what women love the best.
Up starts the beldam, who was there unseen,
And, reverence made, accosted thus the queen:—
‘My liege,’ said she, ‘before the court arise,
May I, poor wretch, find favour in your eyes,
To grant my just request: ’twas I who taught
The knight this answer, and inspired his thought.
None but a woman could a man direct
To tell us women what we most affect.
But first I swore him on his knightly troth,
(And here demand performance of his oath,)
To grant the boon that next I should desire;
He gave his faith, and I expect my hire:
My promise is fulfilled: I saved his life,
And claim his debt, to take me for his wife.’
The knight was asked, nor could his oath deny,
But hoped they would not force him to comply.
The women, who would rather wrest the laws,
Than let a sister-plaintiff lose the cause,
(As judges on the bench more gracious are,
And more attent to brothers of the bar,)
Cried, one and all, the suppliant should have right,
And to the grandame hag adjudged the knight.
In vain he sighed, and oft with tears desired
Some reasonable suit might be required.
But still the crone was constant to her note;
The more he spoke, the more she stretched her throat.
In vain he proffered all his goods, to save
His body destined to that living grave.
The liquorish hag rejects the pelf with scorn,
And nothing but the man would serve her turn.
‘Not all the wealth of eastern kings,’ said she,
‘Have power to part my plighted love and me;
And, old and ugly as I am, and poor,
Yet never will I break the faith I swore;
For mine thou art by promise, during life,
And I thy loving and obedient wife.’
‘My love! nay, rather my damnation thou,’
Said he: ‘nor am I bound to keep my vow;
The fiend, thy sire, hath sent thee from below,
Else how couldst thou my secret sorrows know?
Avaunt, old witch! for I renounce thy bed:
The queen may take the forfeit of my head,
Ere any of my race so foul a crone shall wed.’
Both heard, the judge pronounced against the knight;
So was he married in his own despite:
And all day after hid him as an owl,
Not able to sustain a sight so foul.
Perhaps the reader thinks I do him wrong,
To pass the marriage feast, and nuptial song:
Mirth there was none, the man was à-la-mort,
And little courage had to make his court.
To bed they went, the bridegroom and the bride:
Was never such an ill-paired couple tied:
Restless he tossed, and tumbled to and fro,
And rolled, and wriggled further off for woe.
The good old wife lay smiling by his side,
And caught him in her quivering arms, and cried,
‘When you my ravished predecessor saw,
You were not then become this man of straw;
Had you been such you might have ’scaped the law.
Is this the custom of King Arthur’s court?
Are all round-table knights of such a sort?
Remember I am she who saved your life,
Your loving, lawful, and complying wife:
Not thus you swore in your unhappy hour,
Nor I for this return employed my power.
In time of need I was your faithful friend;
Nor did I since, nor ever will offend.
Believe me, my loved lord, ’tis much unkind;
What fury has possessed your altered mind?
Thus on my wedding night,—without pretence,—
Come, turn this way—or tell me my offence.
If not your wife, let reason’s rule persuade,
Name but my fault, amends shall soon be made.’
‘Amends! nay, that’s impossible,’ said he,
‘What change of age, or ugliness, can be?
Or could Medea’s magic mend thy face,
Thou art descended from so mean a race,
That never knight was matched with such disgrace.
What wonder, madam, if I move my side,
When, if I turn, I turn to such a bride?’
‘And is this all that troubles you so sore?
‘And what the devil couldst thou wish me more?’
‘Ah, Benedicite!’ replied the crone:
‘Then cause of just complaining have you none.
The remedy to this were soon applied,
Would you be like the bridegroom to the bride:
But, for you say a long descended race,
And wealth, and dignity, and power, and place,
Make gentlemen, and that your high degree
Is much disparaged to be matched with me;
Know this, my lord, nobility of blood
Is but a glittering and fallacious good:
The nobleman is he whose noble mind
Is filled with inborn worth, unborrowed from his kind.
The King of Heaven was in a manger laid,
And took his earth but from an humble Maid:
Then what can birth, or mortal men, bestow,
Since floods no higher than their fountains flow?
We, who for name and empty honour strive,
Our true nobility from him derive.
Your ancestors, who puff your mind with pride,
And vast estates to mighty titles tied,
Did not your honour, but their own, advance;
For virtue comes not by inheritance.
If you tralineate from your father’s mind,
What are you else but of a bastard kind?
Do as your great progenitors have done,
And by their virtues prove yourself their son.
No father can infuse or wit, or grace;
A mother comes across, and mars the race.
A grandsire or a grandame taints the blood;
And seldom three descents continue good.
Were virtue by descent, a noble name
Could never villanize his father’s fame:
But, as the first, the last of all the line,
Would, like the sun, even in descending shine.
Take fire, and bear it to the darkest house
Betwixt king Arthur’s court and Caucasus;
If you depart, the flame shall still remain,
And the bright blaze enlighten all the plain;
Nor, till the fuel perish, can decay,
By nature formed on things combustible to prey.
Such is not man, who, mixing better seed
With worse, begets a base degenerate breed:
The bad corrupts the good, and leaves behind
No trace of all the great begetter’s mind.
The father sinks within his son, we see,
And often rises in the third degree;
If better luck a better mother give,
Chance gave us being, and by chance we live.
Such as our atoms were, even such are we,
Or call it chance, or strong necessity:
Thus loaded with dead weight, the will is free.
And thus it needs must be: for seed conjoined
Lets into nature’s work the imperfect kind;
But fire, the enlivener of the general frame,
Is one, its operation still the same.
Its principle is in itself: while ours
Works, as confederates war, with mingled powers;
Or man or woman, which soever fails;
And oft the vigour of the worse prevails.
æther with sulphur blended alters hue,
And casts a dusky gleam of Sodom blue.
Thus, in a brute, their ancient honour ends,
And the fair mermaid in a fish descends:
The line is gone; no longer duke or earl;
But, by himself degraded, turns a churl.
Nobility of blood is but renown
Of thy great fathers by their virtue known,
And a long trail of light, to thee descending down.
If in thy smoke it ends, their glories shine;
But infamy and villanage are thine.
Then what I said before is plainly showed,
The true nobility proceeds from God:
Nor left us by inheritance, but given
By bounty of our stars, and grace of Heaven.
Thus from a captive Servius Tullius rose,
Whom for his virtues the first Romans chose:
Fabricius from their walls repelled the foe,
Whose noble hands had exercised the plough.
From hence, my lord, and love, I thus conclude,
That though my homely ancestors were rude,
Mean as I am, yet I may have the grace
To make you father of a generous race:
And noble then am I, when I begin,
In virtue clothed, to cast the rags of sin.
If poverty be my upbraided crime,
And you believe in Heaven, there was a time
When He, the great controller of our fate,
Deigned to be man, and lived in low estate;
Which He who had the world at his dispose,
If poverty were vice, would never choose.
Philosophers have said, and poets sing,
That a glad poverty’s an honest thing.
Content is wealth, the riches of the mind,
And happy he who can that treasure find;
But the base miser starves amidst his store,
Broods on his gold, and griping still at more,
Sits sadly pining, and believes he’s poor.
The ragged beggar, though he want relief,
Has nought to lose, and sings before the thief.
Want is a bitter and a hateful good,
Because its virtues are not understood.
Yet many things, impossible to thought,
Have been by need to full perfection brought:
The daring of the soul proceeds from thence,
Sharpness of wit, and active diligence;
Prudence at once and fortitude it gives,
And if in patience taken, mends our lives;
For even that indigence that brings me low,
Makes me myself and Him above to know;
A good which none would challenge, few would choose;
A fair possession, which mankind refuse.
If we from wealth to poverty descend,
Want gives to know the flatterer from the friend.
If I am old and ugly, well for you,
No lewd adulterer will my love pursue;
Nor jealousy, the bane of married life,
Shall haunt you for a withered homely wife;
For age and ugliness, as all agree,
Are the best guards of female chastity.
‘Yet since I see your mind is worldly bent,
I’ll do my best to further your content.
And therefore of two gifts in my dispose,—
Think ere you speak, —I grant you leave to choose:
Would you I should be still deformed and old,
Nauseous to touch, and loathsome to behold;
On this condition to remain for life
A careful, tender, and obedient wife,
In all I can contribute to your ease,
And not in deed, or word, or thought displease:
Or would you rather have me young and fair,
And take the chance that happens to your share?
Temptations are in beauty, and in youth,
And how can you depend upon my truth?
Now weigh the danger with the doubtful bliss,
And thank yourself, if aught should fall amiss.’
Sore sighed the knight, who this long sermon heard;
At length considering all, his heart he cheered,
And thus replied: —‘My lady, and my wife,
To your wise conduct I resign my life:
Choose you for me, for well you understand
The future good and ill, on either hand:
But if an humble husband may request,
Provide and order all things for the best;
Yours be the care to profit and to please:
And let your subject servant take his ease.’
‘Then thus in peace,’ quoth she, ‘concludes the strife,
Since I am turned the husband, you the wife:
The matrimonial victory is mine,
Which, having fairly gained, I will resign;
Forgive if I have said or done amiss,
And seal the bargain with a friendly kiss:
I promised you but one content to share,
But now I will become both good and fair.
No nuptial quarrel shall disturb your ease;
The business of my life shall be to please;
And for my beauty, that, as time shall try,
But draw the curtain first, and cast your eye.’
He looked, and saw a creature heavenly fair,
In bloom of youth, and of a charming air.
With joy he turned, and seized her ivory arm;
And, like Pygmalion, found the statue warm.
Small arguments there needed to prevail,
A storm of kisses poured as thick as hail.
Thus long in mutual bliss they lay embraced,
And their first love continued to the last:
One sunshine was their life, no cloud between,
Nor ever was a kinder couple seen.
And so may all our lives like theirs be led;
Heaven send the maids young husbands fresh in bed:
May widows wed as often as they can,
And ever for the better change their man.
And some devouring plague pursue their lives,
Who will not well be governed by their wives.

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The Wisdom Of Merlyn

These are the time--words of Merlyn, the voice of his age recorded,
All his wisdom of life, the fruit of tears in his youth, of joy in his manhood hoarded,
All the wit of his years unsealed, to the witless alms awarded.

These are his time--gifts of song, his help to the heavy--laden,
Words of an expert of life, who has gathered its sins in his sack, its virtues to grieve and gladden,
Speaking aloud as one who is strong to the heart of man, wife and maiden.

For he is Merlyn of old, the once young, the still robed in glory,
Ancient of days though he be, with wisdom only for wealth and the crown of his locks grown hoary,
Yet with the rage of his soul untamed, the skill of his lips in story.

He dares not unhouselled die, who has seen, who has known, who has tasted
What of the splendours of Time, of the wise wild joys of the Earth, of the newness of pleasures quested,
All that is neither of then nor now, Truth's naked self clean--breasted,

Things of youth and of strength, the Earth with its infinite pity,
Glories of mountain and plain, of streams that wind from the hills to the insolent human city,
Dark with its traders of human woe enthroned in the seats of the mighty.

Fair things nobler than Man before the day of his ruling,
Free in their ancient peace, ere he came to change, to destroy, to hinder with his schooling,
Asking naught that was his to give save freedom from his fooling.

Beautiful, wonderful, wise, a consonant law--ruled heaven,
Garden ungardened yet, in need yet hardly of God to walk there noon or even,
Beast and bird and flower in its place, Earth's wonders more than seven.

Of these he would speak and confess, to the young who regard not their heirship,
Of beauty to boys who are blind, of might to the impotent strong, to the women who crowd Time's fair ship,
Of pearls deep hid in Love's Indian seas, the name of the God they worship.

Thus let it be with Merlyn before his daylight is ended,
One last psalm of his life, the light of it lipped with laughter, the might of it mixed and blended
Still with the subtle sweet need of tears than Pleasure's self more splendid,

Psalm and hymn of the Earth expounding what Time teaches,
Creed no longer of wrath, of silent issueless hopes, of a thing which beyond Man's reach is,
Hope deferred till the heart grows sick, while the preacher vainly preaches.

Nay but a logic of life, which needeth no deferring,
Life with its birthright love, the sun the wind and the rain in multiple pleasure stirring
Under the summer leaves at noon, with no sad doubt of erring,

No sad legend of sin, since his an innocent Eden
Is, and a garden of grace, its gateway clear of the sword, its alleys not angel--ridden,
Its tree of life at the lips of all and never a fruit forbidden.

Merlyn is no vain singer to vex men's ears in the street,
Nay, nor a maid's unbidden. He importuneth none with his song, be it never so wild and sweet.
She that hath ears to hear, let her hear; he will not follow her feet.

Merlyn makes no petition. He asketh of no man alms.
Prince and prophet is he, a monarch, a giver of gifts, a lord of the open plams,
Sueth he naught, not at God's own hand, though he laudeth the Lord in psalms.

Merlyn would speak his message only to hearts that are strong,
To him that hath courage to climb, who would gather time's samphire flowers, who would venture the crags among.
To her who would lesson her soul to fear, with love for sermon and song.

Merlyn hath arms of pity, the weak he would hold to his soul,
Make them partakers of truth, of the ancient weal of the Earth, of the life--throb from Pole to Pole.
He would hold them close; he would dry their tears; with a kiss he would make them whole.

Thus would he sing and to thee, thou child with the eyes of passion
Watching his face in the dark, in the silent light of the stars, while he in his godlike fashion
Maketh his mock at the fears of men, nor spareth to lay the lash on.

Thus would thy Merlyn devise, ere the days of his years be numbered,
Now at threescore and ten. He would leave his word to the world, his soul of its load uncumbered.
Then would he lay his ear to the grave, and sleep as his childhood slumbered.

What is the fruit of Wisdom? To learn the proportion of things;
To know the ant from the lion, the whale from the crest of the wave, the ditty the grasshopper sings
From the chaunt of the full--fledged Paradise bird as he shakes the dew from his wings.

There is one thing more than knowledge, a harvest garnered by few:
To tutor the heart to achieve, to fashion the act to the hand, to do and not yearn to do,
To say to the wish of the soul ``I will,'' to have gathered the flower where it grew.

I was young, and they told me ``Tarry. The rash in the nets are taken.
If there be doubt of thy deed, abstain, lest the day of danger behold thee by these forsaken,
Lest thou lie in the lion's den thou hast roused, with the eyes thou hast dared to waken.''

They spake, but I answered ``Nay, who waiteth shall take no quarry.
Pleasure is fleet as the roe; in the vales he feedeth to--day, but at nightwhen the eyes grow weary
Lo, he hath passed to the desolate hills; he is gone. Nay, he may not tarry.''

For Joy too needeth a net. He cometh tame to thy hand,
Asketh an alms of thy life, to serve thee, thy jubilant slave, if thou wouldst but understand.
Then is thy moment, O Man, for the noose, be it steel or a silken band.

Therefore, where doubt is, do! Thou shalt stumble in thine endeavour,
Ay, till thy knees be sore, thy back with the arrows of grief, and thou stand with an empty quiver.
Yet shall thy heart prevail through its pain, for pain is a mastering lever.

Wouldst thou be wise, O Man? At the knees of a woman begin.
Her eyes shall teach thee thy road, the worth of the thing called pleasure, the joy of the thing called sin.
Else shalt thou go to thy grave in pain for the folly that might have been.

For know, the knowledge of women the beginning of wisdom is.
Who had seven hundred wives and concubines hundreds three, as we read in the book of bliss?
Solomon, wisest of men and kings, and ``all of them princesses.''

Yet, be thou stronger than they. To be ruled of a woman is ill.
Life hath an hundred ways, beside the way of her arms, to give thee of joy thy fill.
Only is love of thy life the flower. Be thine the ultimate will.

A right way is to be happy, a wrong way too. Then beware.
Leave the colt in his stall, he shall grow to a thankless jade, be he never so fat and fair.
Sloth is a crime. Rise up, young fool, and grasp thy joy by the hair.

What is the motto of youth? There is only one. Be thou strong.
Do thy work and achieve, with thy brain, with thy hands, with thy heart, the deeds which to strength belong.
Strike each day thy blow for the right, or failing strike for the wrong.

He that would gain let him give. The shut hand hardly shall win.
Open thy palms to the poor, O thou of the indigent heart. There shall pleas ure be poured therein.
Use thy soul to the cord of joy. If thou sin must, strongly sin.

Cast thy whole heart away. The Earth, philosophers tell,
Leaps to a pebble thrown, be it never so little; it moved to the bidding of that which fell.
Throw thy heart! Thou shalt move the world, though thou fall on the floor of Hell.

Few have the courage of loving. Faint hearts! The loss is theirs.
Few of their idlest whims. ``I would win to Rome ere I die,'' one cried in his daily cares,
Yet plods on on 'Change to his grave, the slave of his stocks and shares.

Learn to appraise thy desires, to weigh the wares of thy heart.
If thou wouldst play with pleasure, avoid Love's passionate tides, its perilous Ocean chart,
Hug the shores of Love's inland seas, and buy thy joys in the mart.

Love lightly, but marry at leisure. Wild Love is a flower of the field
Waiting all hands to gather and ours. If we leave it another will win it and kneel where we kneeled.
Marriage is one tame garden rose in a garden fenced and sealed.

O thou who art sitting silent! Youth, with the eyelids of grief!
How shall I rouse thee to wit? Thou hast stolen the joy of our world. Thouscornest its vain relief.
Nay, she is here. Be thy tongue set free. Play up, thou eloquent thief.

Doubt not thy absolution, sinner, who darest to sin.
So thou prevail in the end, she shall hold thee guiltless of guile, a hero, a paladin.
The end in her eyes hath thee justified, whatever thy means have been.

Love is of body and body, the physical passion of joy;
The desire of the man for the maid, her nakedness strained to his own; the mother's who suckles her boy
With the passionate flow of her naked breast. All else is a fraudulent toy.

Of the house where Love is the master thy beauty may hold the key.
It shall open the hall--door wide, shout loud thy name to its lord. Yet, wouldst thou its full guest be,
Bring with thee other than beauty, wit. Then sit at the feast made free.

``To talk of love is to make love.'' Truly, a maxim of price.
Nathless the noblest soul, shouldst thou tell her of passionate things and fail to gaze in her eyes,
Shall hold thee cheap in her woman's pride, a clown for thy courtesies.

Love hath two mountain summits, the first where pleasure was born
Faint in the cloud--land of light, a vision of possible hope; the second a tempest--torn
Crag where passion is lord and king. Betwixt them what vales forlorn!

Happiness needs to be learned. In youth the ideal woman
Gazed at afar was a dream, a priceless untouchable prize, while she in your arms, too human,
Mocked you with love. 'Tis an art learned late; alas, and the whole by no man.

O! thou in the purple gendered. Thou needst pain for thy case.
Lose thy health or thy heart. Be bowed in thy soul's despond. Be whelmed in a world's disgrace.
So shall thy eyes be unsealed of pride and see Love face to face.

If thou wouldst win love, speak. She shall read the truth on thy lips.
Spoken vows shall prevail, the spell of thy eloquent hand, the flame of thy finger--tips.
Write? She is reading another's eyes while thy sad pen dips and dips.

Thou hast ventured a letter of passion, in ease of thy passionate heart?
Nay, be advised; there is fear, mischance in the written word, when lovers are far apart.
Pain is betrayed by the subtle pen where lips prevailed without art.

Love is a fire. In the lighting, it raiseth a treacherous smoke,
Telling its tale to the world; but anon, growing clear in its flame, may be hid by an old wife's cloak,
And the world learn nothing more and forget the knowledge its smouldering woke.

Comes there a trouble upon thee? Be silent, nor own the debt.
Friendship kicks at the goda; thy naked state is its shame; thou hast angered these with thy fret.
Wait. The world shall forgive thy sin. It asks but leave to forget.

The world is an indolent house--shrew. It scolds but cares not to know
Whether in fancy or fact. What it thinks we have done, that it scourges; the true thing we did it lets go.
What matter? We fare less ill than our act, ay, all of us; more be our woe!

There are days when wisdom is witless, when folly is noble, sublime.
Let us thank the dear gods for our madness, the rush of the blood in our veins, the exuberant pulsings of Time,
And pray, while we sin the forbidden sin, we be spared our penance of crime.

There are habits and customs of passion. Long loves are a tyrannous debt.
But to some there is custom of change, the desire of the untrodden ways, with sunshine of days that were wet,
Of the four fair wives of love's kindly law by licence of Mahomet.

Experience all is of use, save one, to have angered a friend.
Break thy heart for a maid; another shall love thee anon. The gold shall return thou didst spend,
Ay, and thy beaten back grow whole. But friendship's grave is the end.

Why do I love thee, brother? We have shared what things in our youth,
Battle and siege and triumph, together, always together, in wanderings North and South.
But one thing shared binds nearer than all, the kisses of one sweet mouth.

He that hath loved the mother shall love the daughter no less,
Sister the younger sister. There are tones how sweet to his ear, gestures that plead and press,
Echoes fraught with remembered things that cry in the silences.

Fly from thy friend in his fortune, his first days of wealth, of fame;
Or, if thou needest to meet him, do thou as the children of Noah, walk back wards and guard thee from blame.
He who saw found forgiveness none. With thee it were haply the same.

Bridegroom, thy pride is unseemly. Thou boastest abroad, with a smile,
Thou hast read our humanity's riddle. Nay, wait yet a year with thy bride; she shall lesson thee wiser the while.
Then shalt thou blush for thy words to--day, the shame of thy innocent guile.

The love of a girl is a taper lit on a windy night.
Awhile it lightens our darkness, consoles with its pure sudden flame, and the shadows around it grow white.
Anon with a rain--gust of tears it is gone, and we blink more blind for the light.

Sage, thou art proud of thy knowledge, what mountains and marvels seen!
Thou hast loved how madly, how often! hast known what wiles of the heart, what ways of maid, wife and quean!
Yet shalt thou still be betrayed by love, befooled like a boy on the green.

Oh, there is honour in all love. Have lips once kissed thee, be dumb,
Save in their only praise. To cheapen the thing thou hast loved is to bite at thyself thy thumb,
To shout thy own fool's fault to the world, and beat thy shame on a drum.

Who hath dared mock at thy beauty, Lady? Who deemeth thee old?
If he had seen thee anon in the tender light of thine eyes, as I saw thee, what tales had he told
Of ruined kingdoms and kings for one, of misers spending their gold!

Friendship or Love? You ask it: which binds with the stronger tether?
Friendship? Thy comrade of youth, who laughed with thee on thy road? What ailed him in that rough weather,
When to thy bosom Love's angel crept, twin tragedies locked together?

Friendship is fostered with gifts. Be it so; little presents? Yes.
Friendship! But ah, not Love, since love is itself Love's gift and it angereth him to have less.
Woe to the lover who dares to bring more wealth than his tenderness.

This to the woman: Forbear his gifts, the man's thou wouldst hold.
Cheerfully he shall give and thou nothing guess, yet anon he shall weigh thee in scales of his gold.
Woe to thee then if the charge be more than a heartache's cost all told.

Thou art tempted, a passion unworthy? Long struggle hath dulled thy brain?
How shalt thou save thee, poor soul? How buy back the peace of thy days? If of rest thou be fain,
Oft is there virtue in yielding all; thou shalt not be tempted again.

Sacrifice truly is noble. Yet, Lady, ponder thy fate.
Many a victory, won in tears by her who forbore, hath ruined her soul's estate.
Virtue's prize was too dear a whim, the price agreed to too great.

Virtue or vice? Which, think you, should need more veil for her face?
Virtue hath little fear; she goeth in unchaste guise; she ventureth all disgrace.
Poor Vice hid in her shame sits dumb while a stranger taketh her place.

Chastity? Who is unchaste? The church--wed wife, without blame
Yielding her body nightly, a lack--love indolent prize, to the lord of her legal shame?
Or she, the outlawed passionate soul? Their carnal act is the same.

In youth it is well thou lovest. The fire in thee burneth strong.
Choose whom thou wilt, it kindleth; a beggar--maid or a queen, she shall carry the flame along.
Only in age to be loved is best; her right shall repair thy wrong.

Lady, wouldst fly with thy lover? Alas, he loves thee to--day.
How shall it be to--morrow? He saw thee a bird in the air, a rose on its thorny spray.
He would take thee? What shalt thou be in his hand? A burden to bear alway.

Women love beauty in women, a thing to uphold, to adore,
To vaunt for all womanhood's fame, a seemly sweet fitness of body, adorned with all virtuous lore.
Beauty, but not of the kind men prize. On that they would set small store.

What is there cruel as fear? A falcon rending her prey
Showeth an evil eye, but to him she loveth is kind; her rage she shall put away.
But a frightened woman hath pity none. Though she love thee, yet shall she slay.

Show not thy sin to thy son. He shall judge thee harder than these.
All the servants of Noah beheld his shame in the house and loyally held their peace.
Ham alone at his father laughed, made jest of his nakedness.

Cast not loose thy religion, whether believing or no.
Heavy it is with its rule, a burden laid on thy back, a sombre mask at the show.
Yet shall it cloak thee in days of storm, a shield when life's whirlwinds blow.

As to the tree its ivy, so virtue is to the soul.
All the winter long it clothed us in leafage green, and the forest paid us its toll.
Now it is Spring and the rest rejoice while we stand drear in our dole.

Thy love of children is well. Yet a peril lurketh therein.
See lest thy sloth take excuse of thy fondness. Nay, coward art thou, and thine is the pestilent sin.
Shift wouldst thou thy burden of life, the blame of thy ``might have been.''

Courage we all find enough to bear the mischance of our friends.
How many tortured souls have gone to their self--made graves through wreck of their own mad ends:
But no man yet hath his weazand slit for his neighbour's pain in amends.

Fear not to change thy way, since change is of growth, life's sign.
The Child in his growing body, the Sage in his gathered lore, the Saint in his growths divine,
All find pleasure but Age which weeps the unchanging years' decline.

Whence is our fountain of tears? We weep in childhood for pain,
Anon for triumph in manhood, the sudden glory of praise, the giant mastered and slain.
Age weeps only for love renewed and pleasure come back again.

What is our personal self? A fading record of days
Held in our single brain, memory linked with memory back to our childhood's ways.
Beyond it what? A tradition blurred of gossip and nursemaid says.

Why dost thou plain of thine age, O thou with the beard that is thin?
Art thou alone in thy home? Is there none at thy side, not one, to deem thee a man among men?
Nay, thou art young while she holds thy hand, be thy years the threescore and ten.

The world is untimely contrived. It gives us our sunshine in summer,
Its laughing face in our youth, when we need it not to be gay, being each one his own best mummer.
All its frown is for life that goes, its smile for the last new comer.

Europe a horologe is, ill mounted and clogged with grime,
Asia a clock run down. Its hands on the dial are still; its hours are toldby no chime.
Nathless, twice in the twenty--four, it shall tell thee exactly the time.

What is the profit of knowledge? Ah none, though to know not is pain!
We grieve like a child in the dark; we grope for a chink at the door, for a way of escape from the chain;
We beat on life's lock with our bleeding hands, till it opens. And where is the gain?

I have tried all pleasures but one, the last and sweetest; it waits.
Childhood, the childhood of age, to totter again on the lawns, to have done with the loves and the hates,
To gather the daisies, and drop them, and sleep on the nursing knees of the Fates.

I asked of the wise man ``Tell me, what age is the age of pleasure?
Twenty years have I lived. I have spread my meshes in vain. I have taken a paltry treasure.
Where is the heart of the gold?'' And he, ``I will tell thee anon at leisure.''

I pleaded at thirty ``Listen. I have played, I have lost, I have won.
I have loved in joy and sorrow. My life is a burden grown with the thought of its sands outrun.
Where is the joy of our years? At forty?'' ``Say it is just begun.''

At forty I made love's mourning. I stood alone with my foes,
Foot to foot with my Fate, as a man at grips with a man, returning blows for blows.
In the joy of battle ``'Tis here'' I cried. But the wise man, ``Nay, who knows?''

At fifty I walked sedately. At sixty I took my rest.
I had learned the good with the evil. I troubled my soul no more, I had reached the Isles of the Blest.
The sage was dead who had warned my fears. I was wise, I too, with the best.

What do we know of Being? Our own? How short lived, how base!
That which is not our own? The eternal enrolment of stars, the voids and the silences!
The enormous might of the mindless globes whirling through infinite space!

The infinite Great overhead, the infinite Little beneath!
The turn of the cellular germ, the giddy evolving of life in the intricate struggle for breath,
The microbe, the mote alive in the blood, the eyeless atom of death!

Yet which is the greater Being? We have dreamed of a life--giving God,
Him, the mind of the Sun, the conscious brain--flower of Space, with a cosmic form and abode,
With thought and pity and power of will, Humanity's ethical code.

We have dreamed, but we do not believe. Be He here, be He not, 'tis as one.
His Godhead, how does it help? He is far. He is blind to our need. Nay, nay, He is less than the Sun,
Less than the least of the tremulous stars, than our old scorned idols of stone.

For He heareth not, nor seeth. As we to the motes in our blood,
So is He to our lives, a possible symbol of power, a formula half understood.
But the voice of Him, where? the hand grip, where? A child's cry lost in a wood.

Therefore is Matter monarch, the eternal the infinite Thing,
The ``I that am'' which reigneth, which showeth no shadow of change, while humanities wane and spring,
Which saith ``Make no vain Gods before me, who only am Lord and King.''

What then is Merlyn's message, his word to thee weary of pain,
Man, on thy desolate march, thy search for an adequate cause, for a thread, for a guiding rein,
Still in the maze of thy doubts and fears, to bring thee thy joy again?

Thou hast tried to climb to the sky; thou hast called it a firmament;
Thou hast found it a thing infirm, a heaven which is no haven, a bladder punctured and rent,
A mansion frail as the rainbow mist, as thy own soul impotent.

Thou hast clung to a dream in thy tears; thou hast stayed thy rage with a hope;
Thou hast anchored thy wreck to a reed, a cobweb spread for thy sail, with sand for thy salvage rope;
Thou hast made thy course with a compass marred, a toy for thy telescope.

What hast thou done with thy days? Bethink thee, Man, that alone,
Thou of all sentient things, hast learned to grieve in thy joy, hast earned thee the malison
Of going sad without cause of pain, a weeper and woebegone.

Why? For the dream of a dream of another than this fair life
Joyous to all but thee, by every creature beloved in its spring--time of passion rife,
By every creature but only thee, sad husband with sadder wife,

Scared at thought of the end, at the simple logic of death,
Scared at the old Earth's arms outstretched to hold thee again, thou child of an hour, of a breath,
Seeking refuge with all but her, the mother that comforteth.

Merlyn's message is this: he would bid thee have done with pride.
What has it brought thee but grief, thy parentage with the Gods, thy kinship with beasts denied?
What thy lore of a life to come in a cloud--world deified?

O thou child which art Man, distraught with a shadow of ill!
O thou fool of thy dreams, thou gatherer rarely of flowers but of fungi ofevil smell,
Posion growths of the autumn woods, rank mandrake and mort--morell!

Take thy joy with the rest, the bird, the beast of the field,
Each one wiser than thou, which frolic in no dismay, which seize what the seasons yield,
And lay thee down when thy day is done content with the unrevealed.

Take the thing which thou hast. Forget thy kingdom unseen.
Lean thy lips on the Earth; she shall bring new peace to thy eyes with her healing vesture green.
Drink once more at her fount of love, the one true hippocrene.

O thou child of thy fears! Nay, shame on thy childish part
Weeping when called to thy bed. Take cheer. When the shadows come, when the crowd is leaving the mart,
Then shalt thou learn that thou needest sleep, Death's kindly arms for thy heart.

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Marmion: Canto V. - The Court

I.

The train has left the hills of Braid;
The barrier guard have open made
(So Lindesay bade) the palisade,
That closed the tented ground;
Their men the warders backward drew,
And carried pikes as they rode through
Into its ample bound.
Fast ran the Scottish warriors there,
Upon the Southern band to stare.
And envy with their wonder rose,
To see such well-appointed foes;
Such length of shaft, such mighty bows,
So huge, that many simply thought,
But for a vaunt such weapons wrought;
And little deemed their force to feel,
Through links of mail, and plates of steel,
When rattling upon Flodden vale,
The clothyard arrows flew like hail.

II.

Nor less did Marmion's skilful view
Glance every line and squadron through;
And much he marvelled one small land
Could marshal forth such various band:
For men-at-arms were here,
Heavily sheathed in mail and plate,
Like iron towers for strength and weight,
On Flemish steeds of bone and height,
With battle-axe and spear.
Young knights and squires, a lighter train,
Practised their chargers on the plain,
By aid of leg, of hand, and rein,
Each warlike feat to show,
To pass, to wheel, the croupe to gain,
The high curvet, that not in vain
The sword sway might descend amain
On foeman's casque below.
He saw the hardy burghers there
March armed, on foot, with faces bare,
For vizor they wore none,
Nor waving plume, nor crest of knight;
But burnished were their corslets bright,
Their brigantines, and gorgets light,
Like very silver shone.
Long pikes they had for standing fight,
Two-handed swords they wore,
And many wielded mace of weight,
And bucklers bright they bore.

III.

On foot the yeomen too, but dressed
In his steel-jack, a swarthy vest,
With iron quilted well;
Each at his back (a slender store)
His forty days' provision bore,
As feudal statutes tell.
His arms were halbert, axe, or spear,
A crossbow there, a hagbut here,
A dagger-knife, and brand.
Sober he seemed, and sad of cheer,
As loth to leave his cottage dear,
And march to foreign strand;
Or musing who would guide his steer
To till the fallow land.
Yet deem not in his thoughtful eye
Did aught of dastard terror lie;
More dreadful far his ire
Than theirs, who, scorning danger's name,
In eager mood to battle came,
Their valour like light straw on flame,
A fierce but fading fire.

IV.

Not so the Borderer:- bred to war,
He knew the battle's din afar,
And joyed to hear it swell.
His peaceful day was slothful ease;
Nor harp, nor pipe, his ear could please
Like the loud slogan yell.
On active steed, with lance and blade,
The light-armed pricker plied his trade -
Let nobles fight for fame;
Let vassals follow where they lead,
Burghers to guard their townships bleed,
But war's the Borderer's game.
Their gain, their glory, their delight,
To sleep the day, maraud the night
O'er mountain, moss, and moor;
Joyful to fight they took their way,
Scarce caring who might win the day,
Their booty was secure.
These, as Lord Marmion's train passed by,
Looked on at first with careless eye,
Nor marvelled aught, well taught to know
The form and force of English bow;
But when they saw the lord arrayed
In splendid arms and rich brocade,
Each Borderer to his kinsman said:-
'Hist, Ringan! seest thou there!
Canst guess which road they'll homeward ride?
Oh! could we but on Border side,
By Eusedale glen, or Liddell's tide,
Beset a prize so fair!
That fangless Lion, too, their guide,
Might chance to lose his glistering hide;
Brown Maudlin, of that doublet pied
Could make a kirtle rare.'

V.

Next, Marmion marked the Celtic race,
Of different language, form, and face -
Avarious race of man;
Just then the chiefs their tribes arrayed,
And wild and garish semblance made
The chequered trews and belted plaid,
And varying notes the war-pipes brayed
To every varying clan;
Wild through their red or sable hair
Looked out their eyes with savage stare
On Marmion as he passed;
Their legs above the knee were bare;
Their frame was sinewy, short, and spare,
And hardened to the blast;
Of taller race, the chiefs they own
Were by the eagle's plumage known.
The hunted red-deer's undressed hide
Their hairy buskins well supplied;
The graceful bonnet decked their head;
Back from their shoulders hung the plaid;
A broadsword of unwieldy length,
A dagger proved for edge and strength,
A studded targe they wore,
And quivers, bows, and shafts,-but, oh!
Short was the shaft and weak the bow
To that which England bore.
The Islesmen carried at their backs
The ancient Danish battle-axe.
They raised a wild and wondering cry
As with his guide rode Marmion by.
Loud were their clamouring tongues, as when
The clanging sea-fowl leave the fen,
And, with their cries discordant mixed,
Grumbled and yelled the pipes betwixt.

VI.

Thus through the Scottish camp they passed,
And reached the city gate at last,
Where all around, a wakeful guard,
Armed burghers kept their watch and ward.
Well had they cause of jealous fear,
When lay encamped, in field so near,
The Borderer and the Mountaineer.
As through the bustling streets they go,
All was alive with martial show;
At every turn, with dinning clang,
The armourer's anvil clashed and rang;
Or toiled the swarthy smith, to wheel
The bar that arms the charger's heel;
Or axe or falchion to the side
Of jarring grindstone was applied.
Page, groom, and squire, with hurrying pace,
Through street and lane and market-place
Bore lance, or casque, or sword;
While burghers, with important face,
Described each new-come lord,
Discussed his lineage, told his name,
His following and his warlike fame.
The Lion led to lodging meet,
Which high o'erlooked the crowded street;
There must the baron rest
Till past the hour of vesper tide,
And then to Holyrood must ride -
Such was the king's behest.
Meanwhile the Lion's care assigns
A banquet rich, and costly wines,
To Marmion and his train;
And when the appointed hour succeeds,
The baron dons his peaceful weeds,
And following Lindesay as he leads,
The palace-halls they gain.

VII.

Old Holyrood rung merrily
That night with wassail, mirth, and glee:
King James within her princely bower
Feasted the chiefs of Scotland's power,
Summoned to spend the parting hour;
For he had charged that his array
Should southward march by break of day.
Well loved that splendid monarch aye
The banquet and the song,
By day the tourney, and by night
The merry dance, traced fast and light,
The maskers quaint, the pageant bright,
The revel loud and long.
This feast outshone his banquets past:
It was his blithest-and his last.
The dazzling lamps, from gallery gay,
Cast on the Court a dancing ray;
Here to the harp did minstrels sing;
There ladies touched a softer string;
With long-eared cap and motley vest
The licensed fool retailed his jest;
His magic tricks the juggler plied;
At dice and draughts the gallants vied;
While some, in close recess apart,
Courted the ladies of their heart,
Nor courted them in vain;
For often in the parting hour
Victorious Love asserts his power
O'er coldness and disdain;
And flinty is her heart, can view
To battle march a lover true -
Can hear, perchance, his last adieu,
Nor own her share of pain.

VIII.

Through this mixed crowd of glee and game,
The King to greet Lord Marmion came,
While, reverent, all made room.
An easy task it was, I trow,
King James's manly form to know,
Although, his courtesy to show,
He doffed, to Marmion bending low,
His broidered cap and plume.
For royal was his garb and mien:
His cloak, of crimson velvet piled.
Trimmed with the fur of martin wild;
His vest of changeful satin sheen
The dazzled eye beguiled;
His gorgeous collar hung adown,
Wrought with the badge of Scotland's crown,
The thistle brave, of old renown;
His trusty blade, Toledo right,
Descended from a baldric bright:
White were his buskins, on the heel
His spurs inlaid of gold and steel;
His bonnet, all of crimson fair,
Was buttoned with a ruby rare:
And Marmion deemed he ne'er had seen
A prince of such a noble mien.

IX.

The monarch's form was middle size:
For feat of strength or exercise
Shaped in proportion fair;
And hazel was his eagle eye,
And auburn of the darkest dye
His short curled beard and hair.
Light was his footstep in the dance,
And firm his stirrup in the lists:
And, oh! he had that merry glance
That seldom lady's heart resists.
Lightly from fair to fair he flew,
And loved to plead, lament, and sue -
Suit lightly won and short-lived pain,
For monarchs seldom sigh in vain.
I said he joyed in banquet bower;
But, 'mid his mirth, 'twas often strange
How suddenly his cheer would change,
His look o'ercast and lower,
If, in a sudden turn, he felt
The pressure of his iron belt,
That bound his breast in penance pain,
In memory of his father slain.
Even so 'twas strange how, evermore,
Soon as the passing pang was o'er
Forward he rushed, with double glee,
Into the stream of revelry:
Thus dim-seen object of affright
Startles the courser in his flight,
And half he halts, half springs aside;
But feels the quickening spur applied,
And, straining on the tightened rein,
Scours doubly swift o'er hill and plain.

X.

O'er James's heart, the courtiers say,
Sir Hugh the Heron's wife held sway:
To Scotland's Court she came,
To be a hostage for her lord,
Who Cessford's gallant heart had gored,
And with the king to make accord
Had sent his lovely dame.
Nor to that lady free alone
Did the gay king allegiance own;
For the fair Queen of France
Sent him a turquoise ring and glove,
And charged him, as her knight and love,
For her to break a lance;
And strike three strokes with Scottish brand,
And march three miles on Southron land,
And bid the banners of his band
In English breezes dance.
And thus for France's queen he drest
His manly limbs in mailed vest;
And thus admitted English fair
His inmost counsels still to share:
And thus, for both, he madly planned
The ruin of himself and land!
And yet, the sooth to tell,
Nor England's fair, nor France's Queen,
Were worth one pearl-drop, bright and sheen,
From Margaret's eyes that fell,
His own Queen Margaret, who, in Lithgow's bower,
All lonely sat, and wept the weary hour.

XI.

The queen sits lone in Lithgow pile,
And weeps the weary day,
The war against her native soil,
Her monarch's risk in battle broil;
And in gay Holyrood the while
Dame Heron rises with a smile
Upon the harp to play.
Fair was her rounded arm, as o'er
The strings her fingers flew;
And as she touched and tuned them all,
Ever her bosom's rise and fall
Was plainer given to view;
For, all for heat, was laid aside
Her wimple, and her hood untied.
And first she pitched her voice to sing,
Then glanced her dark eye on the king,
And then around the silent ring;
And laughed, and blushed, and oft did say
Her pretty oath, By yea and nay,
She could not, would not, durst not play!
At length upon the harp with glee,
Mingled with arch simplicity,
A soft yet lively air she rung,
While thus the wily lady sung: -

XII.-LOCHINVAR.

Oh! young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
And save his good broadsword, he weapons had none,
He rode all unarmed, and he rode all alone;
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.

He stayed not for brake, and he stopped not for stone;
He swam the Esk river, where ford there was none;
But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
The bride had consented, the gallant came late;
For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.

So boldly he entered the Netherby Hall,
Among bride's-men, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all;
Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword -
For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word -
'Oh! come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,
Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?'

'I long wooed your daughter, my suit you denied;
Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide;
And now am I come, with this lost love of mine,
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar.'

The bride kissed the goblet: the knight took it up,
He quaffed off the wine, and he threw down the cup.
She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh,
With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye.
He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar -
'Now tread we a measure!' said young Lochinvar.

So stately his form, and so lovely her face,
That never a hall such a galliard did grace;
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume,
And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume:
And the bride's-maidens whispered, ''Twere better by far
To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar.'

One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,
When they reached the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
So light to the croup the fair lady he swung,
So light to the saddle before her he sprung.
'She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;
They'll have fleet steeds that follow,' quoth young Lochinvar.

There was mounting 'mong Graemes of the Netherby clan;
Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran:
There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see.
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?

XIII.

The monarch o'er the siren hung,
And beat the measure as she sung;
And, pressing closer and more near,
He whispered praises in her ear.
In loud applause the courtiers vied,
And ladies winked and spoke aside.
The witching dame to Marmion threw
A glance, where seemed to reign
The pride that claims applauses due,
And of her royal conquest too,
A real or feigned disdain:
Familiar was the look, and told
Marmion and she were friends of old.
The king observed their meeting eyes
With something like displeased surprise:
For monarchs ill can rivals brook,
E'en in a word or smile or look.
Straight took he forth the parchment broad
Which Marmion's high commission showed:
'Our Borders sacked by many a raid,
Our peaceful liegemen robbed,' he said;
'On day of truce our warden slain,
Stout Barton killed, his vassals ta'en -
Unworthy were we here to reign,
Should these for vengeance cry in vain;
Our full defiance, hate, and scorn,
Our herald has to Henry borne.'

XIV.

He paused, and led where Douglas stood,
And with stern eye the pageant viewed -
I mean that Douglas, sixth of yore,
Who coronet of Angus bore,
And, when his blood and heart were high,
Did the third James in camp defy,
And all his minions led to die
On Lauder's dreary flat:
Princes and favourites long grew tame,
And trembled at the homely name
Of Archibald Bell-the-Cat;
The same who left the dusky vale
Of Hermitage in Liddisdale,
Its dungeons and its towers,
Where Bothwell's turrets brave the air,
And Bothwell bank is blooming fair,
To fix his princely bowers.
Though now in age he had laid down
His armour for the peaceful gown,
And for a staff his brand,
Yet often would flash forth the fire
That could in youth a monarch's ire
And minion's pride withstand;
And e'en that day, at council board,
Unapt to soothe his sovereign's mood,
Against the war had Angus stood,
And chafed his royal lord.

XV.

His giant form like ruined tower,
Though fall'n its muscles' brawny vaunt,
Huge-boned, and tall, and grim, and gaunt,
Seemed o'er the gaudy scene to lower:
His locks and beard in silver grew;
His eyebrows kept their sable hue.
Near Douglas when the monarch stood,
His bitter speech he thus pursued:
'Lord Marmion, since these letters say
That in the north you needs must stay
While slightest hopes of peace remain,
Uncourteous speech it were, and stern,
To say-return to Lindisfarne
Until my herald come again.
Then rest you in Tantallon Hold;
Your host shall be the Douglas bold -
A chief unlike his sires of old.
He wears their motto on his blade,
Their blazon o'er his towers displayed;
Yet loves his sovereign to oppose,
More than to face his country's foes.
And, I bethink me, by Saint Stephen,
But e'en this morn to me was given
A prize, the first-fruits of the war,
Ta'en by a galley from Dunbar,
A bevy of the maids of Heaven.
Under your guard these holy maids
Shall safe return to cloister shades;
And, while they at Tantallon stay,
Requiem for Cochrane's soul may say.'
And with the slaughtered favourite's name
Across the monarch's brow there came
A cloud of ire, remorse, and shame.

XVI.

In answer nought could Angus speak;
His proud heart swelled well-nigh to break:
He turned aside, and down his cheek
A burning tear there stole.
His hand the monarch sudden took;
That sight his kind heart could not brook:
'Now, by the Bruce's soul,

Angus, my hasty speech forgive!
For sure as doth his spirit live,
As he said of the Douglas old,
I well may say of you -
That never king did subject hold
In speech more free, in war more bold,
More tender and more true:
Forgive me, Douglas, once again.'
And while the king his hand did strain,
The old man's tears fell down like rain.
To seize the moment Marmion tried,
And whispered to the king aside:
'Oh! let such tears unwonted plead
For respite short from dubious deed!
A child will weep a bramble's smart,
A maid to see her sparrow part,
A stripling for a woman's heart:
But woe awaits a country when
She sees the tears of bearded men.
Then, oh! what omen, dark and high,
When Douglas wets his manly eye!'

XVII.

Displeased was James, that stranger viewed
And tampered with his changing mood.
'Laugh those that can, weep those that may,'
Thus did the fiery monarch say,
'Southward I march by break of day;
And if within Tantallon strong,
The good Lord Marmion tarries long,
Perchance our meeting next may fall
At Tamworth, in his castle-hall.'
The haughty Marmion felt the taunt,
And answered, grave, the royal vaunt:-
'Much honoured were my humble home
If in its halls King James should come;
But Nottingham has archers good,
And Yorkshire-men are stern of mood;
Northumbrian prickers wild and rude.
On Derby hills the paths are steep;
In Ouse and Tyne the fords are deep;
And many a banner will be torn,
And many a knight to earth be borne,
And many a sheaf of arrows spent,
Ere Scotland's king shall cross the Trent:
Yet pause, brave prince, while yet you may.'
The monarch lightly turned away,
And to his nobles loud did call,
'Lords, to the dance-a hall! a hall!'
Himself his cloak and sword flung by,
And led Dame Heron gallantly;
And minstrels, at the royal order,
Rung out 'Blue Bonnets o'er the Border.'

XVIII.

Leave we these revels now, to tell
What to Saint Hilda's maids befell,
Whose galley, as they sailed again
To Whitby, by a Scot was ta'en.
Now at Dunedin did they bide,
Till James should of their fate decide;
And soon, by his command,
Were gently summoned to prepare
To journey under Marmion's care,
As escort honoured, safe, and fair,
Again to English land.
The Abbess told her chaplet o'er,
Nor knew which saint she should implore;
For when she thought of Constance, sore
She feared Lord Marmion's mood.
And judge what Clara must have felt!
The sword that hung in Marmion's belt
Had drunk De Wilton's blood.
Unwittingly, King James had given,
As guard to Whitby's shades,
The man most dreaded under heaven
By these defenceless maids:
Yet what petition could avail,
Or who would listen to the tale
Of woman, prisoner, and nun,
'Mid bustle of a war begun?
They deemed it hopeless to avoid
The convoy of their dangerous guide.

XIX.

Their lodging, so the king assigned,
To Marmion's, as their guardian, joined;
And thus it fell that, passing nigh,
The Palmer caught the Abbess' eye,
Who warned him by a scroll
She had a secret to reveal
That much concerned the Church's weal
And health of sinner's soul;
And with deep charge of secrecy
She named a place to meet,
Within an open balcony
That hung from dizzy pitch, and high
Above the stately street;
To which, as common to each home,
At night they might in secret come.

XX.

At night, in secret, there they came,
The Palmer and the holy dame.
The moon among the clouds rose high,
And all the city hum was by.
Upon the street, where late before
Did din of war and warriors roar,
You might have heard a pebble fall,
A beetle hum, a cricket sing,
An owlet flap his boding wing
On Giles's steeple tall.
The antique buildings, climbing high,
Whose Gothic frontlets sought the sky,
Were here wrapt deep in shade;
There on their brows the moonbeam broke
Through the faint wreaths of silvery smoke,
And on the casements played.
And other light was none to see,
Save torches gliding far,
Before some chieftain of degree,
Who left the royal revelry
To bowne him for the war.
A solemn scene the Abbess chose;
A solemn hour, her secret to disclose.

XXI.

'O holy Palmer!' she began -
'For sure he must be sainted man
Whose blessed feet have trod the ground
Where the Redeemer's tomb is found -
For His dear Church's sake my tale
Attend, nor deem of light avail,
Though I must speak of worldly love -
How vain to those who wed above!
De Wilton and Lord Marmion wooed
Clara de Clare, of Gloucester's blood;
Idle it were of Whitby's dame,
To say of that same blood I came;
And once, when jealous rage was high,
Lord Marmion said despiteously,
Wilton was traitor in his heart,
And had made league with Martin Swart,
When he came here on Simnel's part
And only cowardice did restrain
His rebel aid on Stokefield's plain,
And down he threw his glove: the thing
Was tried, as wont, before the king;
Where frankly did De Wilton own
That Swart in Gueldres he had known;
And that between them then there went
Some scroll of courteous compliment.
For this he to his castle sent;
But when his messenger returned,
Judge how De Wilton's fury burned
For in his packet there were laid
Letters that claimed disloyal aid,
And proved King Henry's cause betrayed.
His fame, thus blighted, in the field
He strove to clear by spear and shield;
To clear his fame in vain he strove,
For wondrous are His ways above!
Perchance some form was unobserved;
Perchance in prayer or faith he swerved;
Else how could guiltless champion quail,
Or how the blessed ordeal fail?


XXII.

'His squire, who now De Wilton saw
As recreant doomed to suffer law,
Repentant, owned in vain,
That while he had the scrolls in care,
A stranger maiden, passing fair,
Had drenched him with a beverage rare;
His words no faith could gain.
With Clare alone he credence won,
Who, rather than wed Marmion,
Did to Saint Hilda's shrine repair,
To give our house her livings fair,
And die a vestal vot'ress there.
The impulse from the earth was given,
But bent her to the paths of heaven.
A purer heart, a lovelier maid,
Ne'er sheltered her in Whitby's shade,
No, not since Saxon Edelfled:
Only one trace of earthly strain,
That for her lover's loss
She cherishes a sorrow vain,
And murmurs at the cross.
And then her heritage;-it goes
Along the banks of Tame;
Deep fields of grain the reaper mows,
In meadows rich the heifer lows,
The falconer and huntsman knows
Its woodlands for the game.
Shame were it to Saint Hilda dear,
And I, her humble vot'ress here,
Should do a deadly sin,
Her temple spoiled before mine eyes,
If this false Marmion such a prize
By my consent should win;
Yet hath our boisterous monarch sworn
That Clare shall from our house be torn;
And grievous cause have I to fear
Such mandate doth Lord Marmion bear.

XXIII.

'Now, prisoner, helpless, and betrayed
To evil power, I claim thine aid,
By every step that thou hast trod
To holy shrine and grotto dim,
By every martyr's tortured limb,
By angel, saint, and seraphim,
And by the Church of God!
For mark:- When Wilton was betrayed,
And with his squire forged letters laid,
She was, alas! that sinful maid
By whom the deed was done -
Oh! shame and horror to be said! -
She was a perjured nun!
No clerk in all the land, like her
Traced quaint and varying character.
Perchance you may a marvel deem
That Marmion's paramour
(For such vile thing she was) should scheme
Her lover's nuptial hour;
But o'er him thus she hoped to gain,
As privy to his honour's stain,
Illimitable power:
For this she secretly retained
Each proof that might the plot reveal,
Instructions with his hand and seal;
And thus Saint Hilda deigned,
Through sinners' perfidy impure,
Her house's glory to secure
And Clare's immortal weal.

XXIV.

''Twere long and needless here to tell
How to my hand these papers fell;
With me they must not stay.
Saint Hilda keep her Abbess true!
Who knows what outrage he might do
While journeying by the way?
O blessed saint, if e'er again
I venturous leave thy calm domain,
To travel or by land or main,
Deep penance may I pay!
Now, saintly Palmer, mark my prayer:
I give this packet to thy care,
For thee to stop they will not dare;
And, oh! with cautious speed
To Wolsey's hand the papers bring,
That he may show them to the king
And for thy well-earned meed,
Thou holy man, at Whitby's shrine
A weekly mass shall still be thine
While priests can sing and read.
What ail'st thou? Speak!' For as he took
The charge, a strong emotion shook
His frame; and, ere reply,
They heard a faint yet shrilly tone,
Like distant clarion feebly blown,
That on the breeze did die;
And loud the Abbess shrieked in fear,
'Saint Withold, save us! What is here?
Look at yon city cross!
See, on its battled tower appear
Phantoms, that scutcheons seem to rear,
And blazoned banners toss!'

XXV.

Dunedin's Cross, a pillared stone,
Rose on a turret octagon;
(But now is razed that monument
Whence royal edict rang,
And voice of Scotland's law was sent
In glorious trumpet-clang.
Oh! be his tomb as lead to lead
Upon its dull destroyer's head! -
A minstrel's malison is said).
Then on its battlements they saw
A vision, passing Nature's law,
Strange, wild, and dimly seen -
Figures that seemed to rise and die,
Gibber and sign, advance and fly,
While nought confirmed could ear or eye
Discern of sound or mien.
Yet darkly did it seem, as there
Heralds and pursuivants prepare,
With trumpet sound and blazon fair,
A summons to proclaim;
But indistinct the pageant proud,
As fancy-forms of midnight cloud,
When flings the moon upon her shroud
A wavering tinge of flame;
It flits, expands, and shifts, till loud,
From midmost of the spectre crowd,
This awful summons came:-

XXVI.

'Prince, prelate, potentate, and peer,
Whose names I now shall call,
Scottish, or foreigner, give ear!
Subjects of him who sent me here,
At his tribunal to appear
I summon one and all:
I cite you by each deadly sin
That e'er hath soiled your hearts within;
I cite you by each brutal lust
That e'er defiled your earthly dust -
By wrath, by pride, by fear;
By each o'er-mastering passion's tone,
By the dark grave and dying groan!
When forty days are passed and gone,
I cite you, at your monarch's throne,
To answer and appear.'
Then thundered forth a roll of names;
The first was thine, unhappy James!
Then all thy nobles came:-
Crawford, Glencairn, Montrose, Argyle,
Ross, Bothwell, Forbes, Lennox, Lyle -
Why should I tell their separate style?
Each chief of birth and fame,
Of Lowland, Highland, Border, Isle,
Foredoomed to Flodden's carnage pile,
Was cited there by name;
And Marmion, Lord of Fontenaye,
Of Lutterward and Scrivelbaye;
De Wilton, erst of Aberley,
The self-same thundering voice did say.
But then another spoke:
'Thy fatal summons I deny,
And thine infernal lord defy,
Appealing me to Him on high,
Who burst the sinner's yoke.'
At that dread accent, with a scream.
Parted the pageant like a dream,
The summoner was gone.
Prone on her face the Abbess fell,
And fast and fast her beads did tell;
Her nuns came, startled by the yell,
And found her there alone.
She marked not, at the scene aghast,
What time, or how, the Palmer passed.

XXVII.

Shift we the scene. The camp doth move;
Dunedin's streets are empty now,
Save when, for weal of those they love,
To pray the prayer, and vow the vow,
The tottering child, the anxious fair,
The grey-haired sire, with pious care,
To chapels and to shrines repair -
Where is the Palmer now? and where
The Abbess, Marmion, and Clare?
Bold Douglas! to Tantallon fair
They journey in thy charge.
Lord Marmion rode on his right hand,
The Palmer still was with the band;
Angus, like Lindesay, did command
That none should roam at large.
But in that Palmer's altered mien
A wondrous change might now be seen;
Freely he spoke of war,
Of marvels wrought by single hand
When lifted for a native land;
And still looked high, as if he planned
Some desperate deed afar.
His courser would he feed and stroke,
And, tucking up his sable frock,
Would first his mettle bold provoke,
Then soothe or quell his pride.
Old Hubert said, that never one
He saw, except Lord Marmion,
A steed so fairly ride.

XXVIII.

Some half-hour's march behind, there came,
By Eustace governed fair,
A troop escorting Hilda's dame,
With all her nuns and Clare.
No audience had Lord Marmion sought;
Ever he feared to aggravate
Clara de Clare's suspicious hate;
And safer 'twas, he thought,
To wait till, from the nuns removed,
The influence of kinsmen loved,
And suit by Henry's self approved,
Her slow consent had wrought.
His was no flickering flame, that dies
Unless when fanned by looks and sighs,
And lighted oft at lady's eyes;
He longed to stretch his wide command
O'er luckless Clara's ample land;
Besides, when Wilton with him vied,
Although the pang of humbled pride
The place of jealousy supplied,
Yet conquest, by that meanness won
He almost loathed to think upon,
Led him, at times, to hate the cause
Which made him burst through honour's laws
If e'er he loved, 'twas her alone
Who died within that vault of stone.

XXIX.

And now when close at hand they saw
North Berwick's town and lofty Law,
Fitz-Eustace bade them pause awhile
Before a venerable pile,
Whose turrets viewed, afar,
The lofty Bass, the Lambie Isle,
The ocean's peace or war.
At tolling of a bell, forth came
The convent's venerable dame,
And prayed Saint Hilda's Abbess rest
With her, a loved and honoured guest,
Till Douglas should a barque prepare
To waft her back to Whitby fair.
Glad was the Abbess, you may guess,
And thanked the Scottish Prioress;
And tedious were to tell, I ween,
The courteous speech that passed between.
O'erjoyed, the nuns their palfreys leave;
But when fair Clara did intend,
Like them, from horseback to descend,
Fitz-Eustace said, 'I grieve,
Fair lady-grieve e'en from my heart -
Such gentle company to part;
Think not discourtesy,
But lords' commands must be obeyed;
And Marmion and the Douglas said
That you must wend with me.
Lord Marmion hath a letter broad,
Which to the Scottish earl he showed,
Commanding that beneath his care
Without delay you shall repair
To your good kinsman, Lord Fitz-Clare.'

XXX.

The startled Abbess loud exclaimed;
But she at whom the blow was aimed
Grew pale as death, and cold as lead -
She deemed she heard her death-doom read.
'Cheer thee, my child,' the Abbess said;
'They dare not tear thee from my hand
To ride alone with armed band.'
'Nay, holy mother, nay,'
Fitz-Eustace said, 'the lovely Clare
Will be in Lady Angus' care,
In Scotland while we stay;
And when we move, an easy ride
Will bring us to the English side,
Female attendance to provide
Befitting Gloucester's heir;
Nor thinks, nor dreams, my noble lord,
By slightest look, or act, or word,
To harass Lady Clare.
Her faithful guardian he will be,
Nor sue for slightest courtesy
That e'en to stranger falls.
Till he shall place her, safe and free,
Within her kinsman's halls.'
He spoke, and blushed with earnest grace;
His faith was painted on his face,
And Clare's worst fear relieved.
The Lady Abbess loud exclaimed
On Henry, and the Douglas blamed,
Entreated, threatened, grieved;
To martyr, saint, and prophet prayed,
Against Lord Marmion inveighed,
And called the Prioress to aid,
To curse with candle, bell, and book.
Her head the grave Cistercian shook:
'The Douglas and the King,' she said,
'In their commands will be obeyed;
Grieve not, nor dream that harm can fall
The maiden in Tantallon Hall.'

XXXI.

The Abbess, seeing strife was vain,
Assumed her wonted state again -
For much of state she had -
Composed her veil, and raised her head,
And-'Bid,' in solemn voice she said,
'Thy master, bold and bad,
The records of his house turn o'er,
And when he shall there written see,
That one of his own ancestry
Drove the monks forth of Coventry,
Bid him his fate explore.
Prancing in pride of earthly trust,
His charger hurled him to the dust,
And, by a base plebeian thrust,
He died his band before.
God judge 'twixt Marmion and me;
He is a chief of high degree,
And I a poor recluse;
Yet oft, in Holy Writ, we see
Even such weak minister as me
May the oppressor bruise:
For thus, inspired, did Judith slay
The mighty in his sin,
And Jael thus, and Deborah' -
Here hasty Blount broke in:-
'Fitz-Eustace, we must march our band;
Saint Anton' fire thee! wilt thou stand
All day, with bonnet in thy hand,
To hear the lady preach?
By this good light! if thus we stay,
Lord Marmion, for our fond delay,
Will sharper sermon teach.
Come, don thy cap, and mount thy horse;
The dame must patience take perforce.'

XXXII.

'Submit we, then, to force,' said Clare,
'But let this barbarous lord despair
His purposed aim to win;
Let him take living, land, and life;
But to be Marmion's wedded wife
In me were deadly sin:
And if it be the king's decree
That I must find no sanctuary
In that inviolable dome
Where even a homicide might come
And safely rest his head,
Though at its open portals stood,
Thirsting to pour forth blood for blood,
The kinsmen of the dead;
Yet one asylum is my own
Against the dreaded hour -
A low, a silent, and a lone,
Where kings have little power.
One victim is before me there.
Mother, your blessing, and in prayer
Remember your unhappy Clare!'
Loud weeps the Abbess, and bestows
Kind blessings many a one:
Weeping and wailing loud arose
Round patient Clare, the clamorous woes
Of every simple nun.
His eyes the gentle Eustace dried,
And scarce rude Blount the sight could bide.
Then took the squire her rein,
And gently led away her steed,
And, by each courteous word and deed,
To cheer her strove in vain.

XXXIII.

But scant three miles the band had rode,
When o'er a height they passed,
And, sudden, close before them showed
His towers, Tantallon vast;
Broad, massive, high, and stretching far,
And held impregnable in war,
On a projecting rock they rose,
And round three sides the ocean flows,
The fourth did battled walls enclose,
And double mound and fosse.
By narrow drawbridge, outworks strong,
Through studded gates, an entrance long,
To the main court they cross;
It was a wide and stately square;
Around were lodgings, fit and fair,
And towers of various form,
Which on the court projected far,
And broke its lines quadrangular.
Here was square keep, there turret high,
Or pinnacle that sought the sky,
Whence oft the warder could descry
The gathering ocean-storm.

XXXIV.

Here did they rest. The princely care
Of Douglas, why should I declare,
Or say they met reception fair?
Or why the tidings say,
Which, varying, to Tantallon came,
By hurrying posts or fleeter fame,
With every varying day?
And, first, they heard King James had won
Etall, and Wark, and Ford; and then
That Norham Castle strong was ta'en.
At that sore marvelled Marmion;
And Douglas hoped his monarch's hand
Would soon subdue Northumberland:
But whispered news there came,
That, while his host inactive lay,
And melted by degrees away,
King James was dallying off the day
With Heron's wily dame.
Such acts to chronicles I yield:
Go seek them there and see;
Mine is a tale of Flodden Field,
And not a history.
At length they heard the Scottish host
On that high ridge had made their post
Which frowns o'er Milfield Plain,
And that brave Surrey many a band
Had gathered in the Southern land,
And marched into Northumberland,
And camp at Wooler ta'en.
Marmion, like charger in the stall,
That hears, without, the trumpet call,
Began to chafe and swear:
'A sorry thing to hide my head
In castle, like a fearful maid,
When such a field is near!
Needs must I see this battle-day;
Death to my fame if such a fray
Were fought, and Marmion away!
The Douglas, too, I wot not why,
Hath 'bated of his courtesy:
No longer in his halls I'll stay.'
Then bade his band they should array
For march against the dawning day.

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