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O! how our hearts were beating, when, at the dawn of day,
We saw the army of the League drawn out in long array;
With all its priest-led citizens, and all its rebel peers,
And Appenzel's stout infantry, and Egmont's Flemish spears!
There rode the brood of false Lorraine, the curses of our land!
And dark Mayenne was in the midst, a truncheon in his hand;
And, as we looked on them, we thought of Seine's empurpled flood
And good Coligni's hoary hair all dabbled with his blood;
And we cried unto the living God, who rules the fate of war,
To fight for His own holy Name, and Henry of Navarre.
The King has come to marshal us, in all his armor drest,
And he has bound a snow-white plume upon his gallant crest:
He looked upon his People, and a tear was in his eye;
He looked upon the traitors, and his glance was stern and high.
Right graciously he smiled on us, as rolled from wing to wing,
Down all our line, in deafening shout, "God save our lord, the King!"
And if my standard-bearer fall,—as fall full well he may,
For never saw I promise yet of such a bloody fray,
Press where ye see my white plume shine, amid the ranks of war. And be your oriflamme, to-day, the helmet of Navarre."
Hurrah! the foes are moving! Hark to the mingled din
Of fife, and steed, and trump, and drum, and roaring culverin'
The fiery Duke is pricking fast across Saint André's plain,
With all the hireling chivalry of Guelders and Almayne.
Now, by the lips of those ye love, fair gentlemen of France,
Charge for the golden lilies now, upon them with the lance!
A thousand spurs are striking deep, a thousand spears in rest,
A thousand knights are pressing close behind the snow-white crest;
And in they burst, and on they rushed, while, like a guiding star,
Amidst the thickest carnage blazed the helmet of Navarre.
Now, God be praised, the day is ours! Mayenne hath turned his rein,
D'Aumale hath cried for quarter-the Flemish Count is slain;
Their ranks are breaking like thin clouds before a Biscay gale;
The field is heaped with bleeding steeds, and flags, and cloven mail.
And then we thought on vengeance, and all along our van
"Remember St. Bartholomew !" was passed from man to man;
But out spake gentle Henry, then, "No Frenchman is my foe;
Down, down with every foreigner! but let your brethren go."
O! was there ever such a knight, in friendship or in war,
As our sovereign lord, King Henry, the soldier of Navarre!
Ho! maidens of Vienna! Ho! matrons of Lucerne !
Weep, weep and rend your hair for those who never shall return!
Ho! Philip, send for charity thy Mexican pistoles,
That Antwerp monks may sing a mass for thy poor spearmen's souls!
Ho! gallant nobles of the League, look that your arms be bright.
Ho! burghers of St. Genevieve, keep watch and ward to-night!
For our God hath crushed the tyrant, our God hath raised the slave,
And mocked the counsel of the wise and the valor of the brave.
Then glory to His holy name, from whom all glories are!
And glory to our sovereign lord, King Henry of Navarre !
41. PHILIP VAN ARTEVELDE TO THE MEN OF GHENT.-Henry Taylor.
SIRS, ye have heard these knights discourse to you
Of your ill fortunes, telling on their fingers
The worthy leaders ye have lately lost.
True, they were worthy men, most gallant chiefs;
And ill would it become us to make light
Of the great loss we suffer by their fall.
They died like heroes; for no recreant step
Had e'er dishonored them, no stain of fear,
No base despair, no cowardly recoil.
They had the hearts of freemen to the last,
And the free blood that bounded in their veins
Was shed for freedom with a liberal joy.
But had they guessed, or could they but have dreamed,
The great examples which they died to show
Should fall so flat, should shine so fruitless here,
That men should say, "For liberty these died,
Wherefore let us be slaves," had they thought this,
O, then, with what an agony of shame,
Their blushing faces buried in the dust,
Had their great spirits parted hence for Heaven!
What! shall we teach our chroniclers henceforth
To write, that in five bodies were contained
The sole brave hearts of Ghent! which five defunct,
The heartless town, by brainless counsel led,
Delivered up her keys, stript off her robes,
And so with all humility besought
Her haughty Lord that he would scourge her lightly!
It shall not beno, verily! for now,
Thus looking on you as ye stand before me,
Mine eye can single out full many a man
Who lacks but opportunity to shine
As great and glorious as the chiefs that fell.
But, lo! the Earl is "mercifully minded"!
And, surely, if we, rather than revenge
The slaughter of our bravest, cry them shame,
And fall upon our knees, and say we've sinned,
Then will my Lord the Earl have mercy on us,
And pardon us our strike for liberty!
O, Sirs! look round you, lest ye be deceived;
Forgiveness may be spoken with the tongue,
Forgiveness may be written with the pen,
But think not that the parchment and mouth pardon
Will e'er eject old hatreds from the heart.
There's that betwixt you been which men remember
Till they forget themselves, till all 's forgot,
Till the deep sleep falls on them in that bed
From which no morrow's mischief rouses them.
There's that betwixt you been which you yourselves,
Should ye forget, would then not be yourselves;
For must it not be thought some base men's souls
Have ta'en the seats of yours and turned you out,
If, in the coldness of a craven heart,
Ye should forgive this bloody-minded man
For all his black and murderous monstrous crimes!
42. WAT TYLER'S ADDRESS TO THE KING.-Robert Southey. B. 1774; d. 1843
KING of England,
Petitioning for pity is most weak,
The sovereign People ought to demand justice.
I lead them here against the Lord's anointed,
Because his Ministers have made him odious!
His yoke is heavy, and his burden grievous.
Why do ye carry on this fatal war,
To force upon the French a King they hate;
Tearing our young men from their peaceful homes,
Forcing his hard-earned fruits from the honest peasant,
Distressing us to desolate our neighbors ?
Why is this ruinous poll-tax imposed,
But to support your Court's extravagance,
And your mad title to the Crown of France?
Shall we sit tamely down beneath these evils,
Petitioning for pity? King of England,
Why are we sold like cattle in your markets,
Deprived of every privilege of man?
Must we lie tamely at our tyrant's feet,
And, like your spaniels, lick the hand that beats us?
You sit at ease in your gay palaces:
The costly banquet courts your appetite;
Sweet music soothes your slumbers: we, the while,
Scarce by hard toil can earn a little food,
And sleep scarce sheltered from the cold night wind,
Whilst your wild projects wrest the little from us
Which might have cheered the wintry hours of age!
The Parliament forever asks more money;
We toil and sweat for money for your taxes;
Where is the benefit, what good reap we
From all the counsels of your government?
Think you that we should quarrel with the French?
What boots to us your victories, your glory?
pay, we fight, you profit at your ease!
Do you not claim the country as your own?
Do you not call the venison of the forest,
The birds of Heaven, your own?- prohibiting us,
Even though in want of food, to seize the prey
Which Nature offers? King! is all this just?
Think you we do not feel the wrongs we suffer?
The hour of retribution is at hand,
And tyrants tremble, — mark me, King of England!
43. THE SOLDIER'S DREAM.-Thomas Campbell.
OUR bugles sang truce, for the night-cloud had lowered,
And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky;
And thousands had sunk on the ground overpowered,
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.
When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,
By the wolf-scaring fagot that guarded the slain,
At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw,
And thrice ere the morning I dreamed it again.
Methought, from the battle-field's dreadful array,
Far, far I had roamed on a desolate track;
"T was autumn, - and sunshine arose on the way
To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back.
I flew to the pleasant fields, traversed so oft
In life's morning march, when my bosom was young;
I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,
And knew the sweet strain that the corn-reapers sung.
Then pledged we the wine-cup, and fondly I swore
From my home and my weeping friends never to part;
My little ones kissed me a thousand times o'er,
And my wife sobbed aloud in her fulness of heart.
"Stay, stay with us, rest, thou art weary and worn"!
And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay,
But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.
44 TO THE ARMY BEFORE QUEBEC, 1759.-Gen. Wolfe. Born, 1726; died, 1759. I CONGRATULATE you, my brave countrymen and fellow-soldiers, on the spirit and success with which you have executed this important part of our enterprise. The formidable Heights of Abraham are now
surmounted; and the city of Quebec, the object of all our toils, now stands in full view before us. A perfidious enemy, who have dared to exasperate you by their cruelties, but not to oppose you on equal ground, are now constrained to face you on the open plain, without ramparts or intrenchments to shelter them.
You know too well the forces which compose their army to dread their superior numbers. A few regular troops from old France, weakened by hunger and sickness, who, when fresh, were unable to withstand the British soldiers, are their General's chief dependence. Those numerous companies of Canadians, insolent, mutinous, unsteady, and ill-disciplined, have exercised his utmost skill to keep them together to this time; and, as soon as their irregular ardor is damped by one firm fire, they will instantly turn their backs, and give you no further trouble but in the pursuit. As for those savage tribes of Indians, whose horrid yells in the forests have struck many a bold heart with affright, terrible as they are with a tomahawk and scalping-knife to a flying and prostrate foe, you have experienced how little their ferocity is to be dreaded by resolute men upon fair and open ground: you can now only consider them as the just objects of a severe revenge for the unhappy fate of many slaughtered countrymen.
This day puts it into your power to terminate the fatigues of a siege which has so long employed your courage and patience. Possessed with a full confidence of the certain success which British valor must gain over such enemies, I have led you up these steep and dangerous rocks, only solicitous to show you the foe within your reach. The impossibility of a retreat makes no difference in the situation of men resolved to conquer or die: and, believe me, my friends, if your conquest could be bought with the blood of your General, he would most cheerfully resign a life which he has long devoted to his country.
45. THE AMERICAN FLAG.-J. R. Drake. Born, 1795; died, 1820
WHEN Freedom, from her mountain height,
Unfurled her standard to the air,
She tore the azure robe of night,
And set the stars of glory there.
She mingled with its gorgeous dies
The milky baldric of the skies,
And striped its pure celestial white,
With streakings of the morning light;
Then, from his mansion in the sun,
She called her eagle bearer down,
gave into his mighty hand
The symbol of her chosen land.
Majestic monarch of the cloud,
Who rear'st aloft thy regal form,
To hear the tempest trumpings loud,