A BOOK OF VERSE FOR BOYS SELECTED AND ARRANGED BY WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY
Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife! To all the sensual world proclaim One crowded hour of glorious life Is worth an age without a name.
Sir Walter Scott.
NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 1920
COPYRIGHT, 1891, BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
*** The selections from Walt Whitman are published by permission of Mr. Whitman; and those from Longfellow, Lowell, Whittier, and Bret Harte, through the courtesy of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co., the publishers of their works.
TO WALTER BLAIKIE
MY PART IN THIS BOOK
W. E. H.
Edinburgh, July 1891.
This book of verse for boys is, I believe, the first of its kind in English. Plainly, it were labour lost to go gleaning where so many experts have gone harvesting; and for what is rarest and best in English Poetry the world must turn, as heretofore, to the several 'Golden Treasuries' of Professor Palgrave and Mr. Coventry Patmore, and to the excellent 'Poets' Walk' of Mr. Mowbray Morris. My purpose has been to choose and sheave a certain number of those achievements in verse which, as expressing the simpler sentiments and the more elemental emotions, might fitly be addressed to such boys—and men, for that matter—as are privileged to use our noble English tongue.
To set forth, as only art can, the beauty and the joy of living, the beauty and the blessedness of death, the glory of battle and adventure, the nobility of devotion—to a cause, an ideal, a passion even—the dignity of resistance, the sacred quality of patriotism, that is my ambition here. Now, to read poetry at all is to have an ideal anthology of one's own, and in that possession to be incapable of content with the anthologies of all the world besides. That is, the personal equation is ever to be reckoned withal, and I have had my preferences, as those that went before me had theirs. I have omitted much, as Aytoun's 'Lays,' whose absence many will resent; I have included much, as that brilliant piece of doggerel of Frederick Marryat's, whose presence some will regard with distress. This without reference to enforcements due to the very nature of my work.
I have adopted the birth-day order: for that is the simplest. And I have begun with—not Chaucer, nor Spenser, nor the ballads, but—Shakespeare and Agincourt; for it seemed to me that a book of heroism could have no better starting-point than that heroic pair of names. As for the ballads, I have placed them, after much considering, in the gap between old and new, between classic and romantic, in English verse. The witness of Sidney and Drayton's example notwithstanding, it is not until 1765, when Percy publishes the 'Reliques,' that the ballad spirit begins to be the master influence that Wordsworth confessed it was; while as for the history of the matter, there are who hold that 'Sir Patrick Spens,' for example, is the work of Lady Wardlaw, which to others, myself among them, is a thing preposterous and distraught.
It remains to add that, addressing myself to boys, I have not scrupled to edit my authors where editing seemed desirable, and that I have broken up some of the longer pieces for convenience in reading. Also, the help I have received while this book of 'Noble Numbers' was in course of growth—help in the way of counsel, suggestion, remonstrance, permission to use—has been such that it taxes gratitude and makes complete acknowledgment impossible.
W. E. H.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616) and MICHAEL DRAYTON (1563-1631). PAGE I. AGINCOURT Introit 1 Interlude 2 Harfleur 3 The Eve 4 The Battle 6 After 10
SIR HENRY WOTTON (1568-1639).
II. LORD OF HIMSELF 11
BEN JONSON (1574-1637).
III. TRUE BALM 12
IV. HONOUR IN BUD 13
JOHN FLETCHER (1576-1625).
V. THE JOY OF BATTLE 13
FRANCIS BEAUMONT (1586-1616).
VI. IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY 15
ROBERT HERRICK (1591-1674).
VII. GOING A-MAYING 15
VIII. TO ANTHEA, WHO MAY COMMAND HIM ANYTHING 18
GEORGE HERBERT (1593-1638).
IX. MEMENTO MORI 19
JAMES SHIRLEY (1594-1666).
X. THE KING OF KINGS 20
JOHN MILTON (1608-1674).
XI. LYCIDAS 21
XII. ARMS AND THE MUSE 27
XIII. TO THE LORD GENERAL 28
XIV. THE LATE MASSACRE 28
XV. ON HIS BLINDNESS 29
XVI. EYELESS AT GAZA 30
XVII. OUT OF ADVERSITY 31
JAMES GRAHAM, MARQUIS OF MONTROSE (1612-1650).
XVIII. HEROIC LOVE 31
RICHARD LOVELACE (1618-1658).
XIX. GOING TO THE WARS 32
XX. FROM PRISON 33
ANDREW MARVELL (1620-1678).
XXI. TWO KINGS 34
XXII. IN EXILE 39
JOHN DRYDEN (1631-1701).
XXIII. ALEXANDER'S FEAST 40
SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709-1784).
XXIV. THE QUIET LIFE 45
XXV. CHEVY CHASE The Hunting 47 The Challenge 49 The Battle 51 The Slain 54 The Tidings 56
XXVI. SIR PATRICK SPENS 57
XXVII. BRAVE LORD WILLOUGHBY 60
XXVIII. HUGHIE THE GRAEME 64
XXIX. KINMONT WILLIE The Capture 66 The Keeper's Wrath 67 The March 69 The Rescue 71
XXX. THE HONOUR OF BRISTOL 73
XXXI. HELEN OF KIRKCONNELL 77
XXXII. THE TWA CORBIES 79
THOMAS GRAY (1716-1771).
XXXIII. THE BARD 80
WILLIAM COWPER (1731-1800).
XXXIV. THE ROYAL GEORGE 85
XXXV. BOADICEA 86
GRAHAM OF GARTMORE (1735-1797).
XXXVI. TO HIS LADY 88
CHARLES DIBDIN (1745-1814).
XXXVII. CONSTANCY 89
XXXVIII. THE PERFECT SAILOR 90
JOHN PHILPOT CURRAN (1750-1817).
XXXIX. THE DESERTER 91
PRINCE HOARE (1755-1834).
XL. THE ARETHUSA 92
WILLIAM BLAKE (1757-1823).
XLI. THE BEAUTY OF TERROR 94
ROBERT BURNS (1759-1796).
XLII. DEFIANCE 95
XLIII. THE GOAL OF LIFE 96
XLIV. BEFORE PARTING 97
XLV. DEVOTION 98
XLVI. TRUE UNTIL DEATH 99
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1770-1850).
XLVII. VENICE 100
XLVIII. DESTINY 101
XLIX. THE MOTHER LAND 101
L. IDEAL 102
LI. TO DUTY 103
LII. TWO VICTORIES 105
SIR WALTER SCOTT (1771-1832).
LIII. IN MEMORIAM 107
LIV. LOCHINVAR 112
LV. FLODDEN The March 114 The Attack 116 The Last Stand 119
LVI. THE CHASE 121
LVII. THE OUTLAW 126
LVIII. PIBROCH 129
LIX. THE OMNIPOTENT 130
LX. THE RED HARLAW 131
LXI. FAREWELL 133
LXII. BONNY DUNDEE 134
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772-1834).
LXIII. ROMANCE 136
WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR (1775-1864).
LXIV. SACRIFICE 138
THOMAS CAMPBELL (1777-1844).
LXV. SOLDIER AND SAILOR 140
LXVI. 'YE MARINERS' 143
LXVII. THE BATTLE OF THE BALTIC 144
EBENEZER ELLIOTT (1781-1846).
LXVIII. BATTLE SONG 146
ALLAN CUNNINGHAM (1785-1842).
LXIX. LOYALTY 147
LXX. A SEA-SONG 148
BRYANT WALLER PROCTOR (1787-1874).
LXXI. A SONG OF THE SEA 149
GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON (1788-1824).
LXXII. SENNACHERIB 150
LXXIII. THE STORMING OF CORINTH The Signal 151 The Assault 153 The Magazine 156
LXXIV. ALHAMA 160
LXXV. FRIENDSHIP 164
LXXVI. THE RACE WITH DEATH 165
LXXVII. THE GLORY THAT WAS GREECE 167
LXXVIII. HAIL AND FAREWELL 171
CHARLES WOLFE (1791-1823).
LXXIX. AFTER CORUNNA 172
FREDERICK MARRYAT (1792-1848).
LXXX. THE OLD NAVY 174
FELICIA HEMANS (1793-1825).
LXXXI. CASABIANCA 175
LXXXII. THE PILGRIM FATHERS 177
JOHN KEATS (1796-1821).
LXXXIII. TO THE ADVENTUROUS 179
THOMAS BABINGTON, LORD MACAULAY (1800-1859).
LXXXIV. HORATIUS The Trysting 179 The Trouble in Rome 183 The Keeping of the Bridge 189 Father Tiber 196
LXXXV. THE ARMADA 200
LXXXVI. THE LAST BUCCANEER 205
LXXXVII. A JACOBITE'S EPITAPH 206
ROBERT STEPHEN HAWKER (1803-1875).
LXXXVIII. THE SONG OF THE WESTERN MEN 207
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW (1807-1882).
LXXXIX. THE BUILDING OF THE SHIP The Model 208 The Builders 210 In the Ship-Yard 214 The Two Bridals 217
XC. THE DISCOVERER OF THE NORTH CAPE 223
XCI. THE CUMBERLAND 227
XCII. A DUTCH PICTURE 228
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER (b. 1807).
XCIII. BARBARA FRIETCHIE 230
ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON (b. 1809).
XCIV. A BALLAD OF THE FLEET 232
XCV. THE HEAVY BRIGADE 239
SIR FRANCIS HASTINGS DOYLE (1810-1888).
XCVI. THE PRIVATE OF THE BUFFS 242
XCVII. THE RED THREAD OF HONOUR 244
ROBERT BROWNING (1812-1890).
XCVIII. HOME THOUGHTS FROM THE SEA 248
XCIX. HERVE RIEL 248
WALT WHITMAN (b. 1819).
C. THE DYING FIREMAN 254
CI. A SEA-FIGHT 255
CII. BEAT! BEAT! DRUMS! 257
CIII. TWO VETERANS 258
CHARLES KINGSLEY (1819-1875).
CIV. THE PLEASANT ISLE OF AVES 260
CV. A WELCOME 262
SIR HENRY YULE (1820-1889).
CVI. THE BIRKENHEAD 264
MATTHEW ARNOLD (1822-1888).
CVII. APOLLO 265
CVIII. THE DEATH OF SOHRAB The Duel 267 Sohrab 269 The Recognition 272 Ruksh the Horse 275 Rustum 277 Night 280
CIX. FLEE FRO' THE PRESS 282
WILLIAM CORY (b. 1823).
CX. SCHOOL FENCIBLES 284
CXI. THE TWO CAPTAINS 285
GEORGE MEREDITH (b. 1828).
CXII. THE HEAD OF BRAN 290
WILLIAM MORRIS (b. 1834).
CXIII. THE SLAYING OF THE NIBLUNGS Hogni 293 Gunnar 297 Gudrun 301 The Sons of Giuki 304
ALFRED AUSTIN (b. 1835).
CXIV. IS LIFE WORTH LIVING? 308
SIR ALFRED LYALL (b. 1835).
CXV. THEOLOGY IN EXTREMIS 311
ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE (b. 1837).
CXVI. THE OBLATION 316
CXVII. ENGLAND 317
CXVIII. THE JACOBITE IN EXILE 319
BRET HARTE (b. 1839).
CXIX. THE REVEILLE 322
CXX. WHAT THE BULLET SANG 323
AUSTIN DOBSON (b. 1840).
CXXI. A BALLAD OF THE ARMADA 324
ANDREW LANG (b. 1844).
CXXII. THE WHITE PACHA 325
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (b. 1850).
CXXIII. MOTHER AND SON 326
HENRY CHARLES BEECHING (b. 1859).
CXXIV. PRAYERS 328
RUDYARD KIPLING (b. 1865).
CXXV. A BALLAD OF EAST AND WEST 329
CXXVI. THE FLAG OF ENGLAND 335
For I trust, if an enemy's fleet came yonder round by the hill, And the rushing battle-bolt sang from the three-decker out of the foam, That the smooth-faced snub-nosed rogue would leap from his counter and till, And strike, if he could, were it but with his cheating yard-wand, home.
O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend The brightest heaven of invention, A kingdom for a stage, princes to act And monarchs to behold the swelling scene! Then should the warlike Harry, like himself, Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels, Leashed in like hounds, should Famine, Sword and Fire Crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all, The flat unraised spirits that have dared On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth So great an object. Can this cockpit hold The vasty fields of France? or may we cram Within this wooden O the very casques That did affright the air at Agincourt? O pardon! since a crooked figure may Attest in little place a million, And let us, ciphers to this great accompt, On your imaginary forces work. Suppose within the girdle of these walls Are now confined two mighty monarchies, Whose high upreared and abutting fronts The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder: Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts; Into a thousand parts divide one man, And make imaginary puissance; Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth; For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings, Carry them here and there, jumping o'er times, Turning the accomplishment of many years Into an hour-glass.
Now all the youth of England are on fire, And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies: Now thrive the armourers, and honour's thought Reigns solely in the breast of every man: They sell the pasture now to buy the horse, Following the mirror of all Christian kings, With winged heels, as English Mercuries: For now sits Expectation in the air, And hides a sword from hilts unto the point With crowns imperial, crowns and coronets, Promised to Harry and his followers. The French, advised by good intelligence Of this most dreadful preparation, Shake in their fear, and with pale policy Seek to divert the English purposes. O England! model to thy inward greatness, Like little body with a mighty heart, What mightst thou do, that honour would thee do, Were all thy children kind and natural! But see thy fault: France hath in thee found out A nest of hollow bosoms, which he fills With treacherous crowns; and three corrupted men, One, Richard Earl of Cambridge, and the second, Henry Lord Scroop of Masham, and the third, Sir Thomas Grey, knight, of Northumberland, Have for the gilt of France—O guilt indeed!— Confirmed conspiracy with fearful France; And by their hands this grace of kings must die, If hell and treason hold their promises, Ere he take ship for France, and in Southampton!—
Thus with imagined wing our swift scene flies In motion of no less celerity Than that of thought. Suppose that you have seen The well-appointed king at Hampton Pier Embark his royalty, and his brave fleet With silken streamers the young Phoebus fanning: Play with your fancies, and in them behold Upon the hempen tackle ship-boys climbing; Hear the shrill whistle which doth order give To sounds confused; behold the threaden sails, Borne with the invisible and creeping wind Draw the huge bottoms through the furrowed sea Breasting the lofty surge. O, do but think You stand upon the rivage and behold A city on the inconstant billows dancing! For so appears this fleet majestical, Holding due course to Harfleur. Follow, follow: Grapple your minds to sternage of this navy, And leave your England, as dead midnight still, Guarded with grandsires, babies and old women, Or passed or not arrived to pith and puissance; For who is he, whose chin is but enriched With one appearing hair, that will not follow These culled and choice-drawn cavaliers to France? Work, work your thoughts, and therein see a siege: Behold the ordnance on their carriages, With fatal mouths gaping on girded Harfleur. Suppose the ambassador from the French comes back; Tells Harry that the king doth offer him Katharine his daughter, and with her to dowry Some petty and unprofitable dukedoms. The offer likes not: and the nimble gunner With linstock now the devilish cannon touches, And down goes all before them!
Now entertain conjecture of a time When creeping murmur and the poring dark Fills the wide vessel of the universe. From camp to camp through the foul womb of night The hum of either army stilly sounds, That the fixed sentinels almost receive The secret whispers of each other's watch: Fire answers fire, and through their paly flames Each battle sees the other's umbered face; Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs Piercing the night's dull ear, and from the tents The armourers, accomplishing the knights, With busy hammers closing rivets up, Give dreadful note of preparation. The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll, And the third hour of drowsy morning name. Proud of their numbers and secure in soul, The confident and over-lusty French Do the low-rated English play at dice, And chide the cripple, tardy-gaited night Who like a foul and ugly witch doth limp So tediously away. The poor condemned English, Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires Sit patiently and inly ruminate The morning's danger, and their gesture sad, Investing lank-lean cheeks and war-worn coats, Presenteth them unto the gazing moon So many horrid ghosts. O now, who will behold The royal captain of this ruined band Walking from watch to watch, from tent to tent, Let him cry 'Praise and glory on his head!' For forth he goes and visits all his host, Bids them good-morrow with a modest smile, And calls them brothers, friends, and countrymen. Upon his royal face there is no note How dread an army hath enrounded him; Nor doth he dedicate one jot of colour Unto the weary and all-watched night, But freshly looks and over-bears attaint With cheerful semblance and sweet majesty, That every wretch, pining and pale before, Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks. A largess universal like the sun His liberal eye doth give to every one, Thawing cold fear, that mean and gentle all, Behold, as may unworthiness define, A little touch of Harry in the night— And so our scene must to the battle fly.
Fair stood the wind for France, When we our sails advance, Nor now to prove our chance Longer will tarry; But putting to the main, At Caux, the mouth of Seine, With all his martial train, Landed King Harry.
And taking many a fort, Furnished in warlike sort, Marched towards Agincourt In happy hour, Skirmishing day by day With those that stopped his way, Where the French gen'ral lay With all his power:
Which, in his height of pride, King Henry to deride, His ransom to provide To the king sending; Which he neglects the while As from a nation vile, Yet with an angry smile Their fall portending.
And turning to his men, Quoth our brave Henry then, 'Though they to one be ten, Be not amazed. Yet have we well begun, Battles so bravely won Have ever to the sun By fame been raised.
And for myself, quoth he, This my full rest shall be: England ne'er mourn for me, Nor more esteem me; Victor I will remain Or on this earth lie slain; Never shall she sustain Loss to redeem me.
Poitiers and Cressy tell, When most their pride did swell, Under our swords they fell; No less our skill is Than when our grandsire great, Claiming the regal seat, By many a warlike feat Lopped the French lilies.'
The Duke of York so dread The eager vaward led; With the main Henry sped, Amongst his henchmen; Excester had the rear, A braver man not there: O Lord, how hot they were On the false Frenchmen!
They now to fight are gone, Armour on armour shone, Drum now to drum did groan, To hear was wonder; That with the cries they make The very earth did shake, Trumpet to trumpet spake, Thunder to thunder.
Well it thine age became, O noble Erpingham, Which did the signal aim To our hid forces! When from the meadow by, Like a storm suddenly, The English archery Struck the French horses.
With Spanish yew so strong, Arrows a cloth-yard long, That like to serpents stung, Piercing the weather; None from his fellow starts, But playing manly parts, And like true English hearts Stuck close together.
When down their bows they threw, And forth their bilbos drew, And on the French they flew, Not one was tardy; Arms were from shoulders sent, Scalps to the teeth were rent, Down the French peasants went; Our men were hardy.
This while our noble king, His broadsword brandishing, Down the French host did ding As to o'erwhelm it, And many a deep wound lent, His arms with blood besprent, And many a cruel dent Bruised his helmet.
Glo'ster, that duke so good, Next of the royal blood, For famous England stood, With his brave brother; Clarence, in steel so bright, Though but a maiden knight, Yet in that furious fight Scarce such another!
Warwick in blood did wade, Oxford the foe invade, And cruel slaughter made, Still as they ran up; Suffolk his axe did ply, Beaumont and Willoughby Bare them right doughtily, Ferrers and Fanhope.
Upon Saint Crispin's Day Fought was this noble fray, Which fame did not delay, To England to carry. O, when shall Englishmen With such acts fill a pen, Or England breed again Such a King Harry?
Now we bear the king Toward Calais: grant him there; there seen, Heave him away upon your winged thoughts Athwart the sea. Behold, the English beach Pales in the flood with men, with wives and boys, Whose shouts and claps out-voice the deep-mouthed sea, Which like a mighty whiffler 'fore the king Seems to prepare his way: so let him land, And solemnly see him set on to London. So swift a pace hath thought that even now You may imagine him upon Blackheath; Where that his lords desire him to have borne His bruised helmet and his bended sword Before him through the city: he forbids it, Being free from vainness and self-glorious pride, Giving full trophy, signal and ostent, Quite from himself to God. But now behold, In the quick forge and working-house of thought, How London doth pour out her citizens! The mayor and all his brethren in best sort, Like to the senators of the antique Rome, With the plebeians swarming at their heels, Go forth and fetch their conquering Caesar in!
LORD OF HIMSELF
How happy is he born or taught Who serveth not another's will; Whose armour is his honest thought, And simple truth his highest skill;
Whose passions not his masters are; Whose soul is still prepared for death— Not tied unto the world with care Of prince's ear or vulgar breath;
Who hath his ear from rumours freed; Whose conscience is his strong retreat; Whose state can neither flatterers feed, Nor ruin make oppressors great;
Who envies none whom chance doth raise, Or vice; who never understood How deepest wounds are given with praise, Nor rules of state but rules of good;
Who God doth late and early pray More of his grace than gifts to lend, And entertains the harmless day With a well-chosen book or friend—
This man is free from servile bands Of hope to rise or fear to fall: Lord of himself, though not of lands, And, having nothing, yet hath all.
High-spirited friend, I send nor balms nor corsives to your wound; Your faith hath found A gentler and more agile hand to tend The cure of that which is but corporal, And doubtful days, which were named critical, Have made their fairest flight And now are out of sight. Yet doth some wholesome physic for the mind, Wrapped in this paper lie, Which in the taking if you misapply You are unkind.
Your covetous hand, Happy in that fair honour it hath gained, Must now be reined. True valour doth her own renown commend In one full action; nor have you now more To do than be a husband of that store. Think but how dear you bought This same which you have caught— Such thoughts will make you more in love with truth 'Tis wisdom, and that high, For men to use their fortune reverently, Even in youth.
HONOUR IN BUD
It is not growing like a tree In bulk doth make man better be: A lily of a day Is fairer far in May: Although it fall and die that night, It was the plant and flower of light.
THE JOY OF BATTLE
Arm, arm, arm, arm! the scouts are all come in; Keep your ranks close, and now your honours win. Behold from yonder hill the foe appears; Bows, bills, glaives, arrows, shields, and spears! Like a dark wood he comes, or tempest pouring; O view the wings of horse the meadows scouring! The vanguard marches bravely. Hark, the drums! Dub, dub!
They meet, they meet, and now the battle comes: See how the arrows fly That darken all the sky! Hark how the trumpets sound! Hark how the hills rebound— Tara, tara, tara, tara, tara!
Hark how the horses charge! in, boys! boys, in! The battle totters; now the wounds begin: O how they cry! O how they die! Room for the valiant Memnon, armed with thunder! See how he breaks the ranks asunder! They fly! they fly! Eumenes has the chase, And brave Polybius makes good his place: To the plains, to the woods, To the rocks, to the floods, They fly for succour. Follow, follow, follow! Hark how the soldiers hollow! Hey, hey!
Brave Diocles is dead, And all his soldiers fled; The battle's won, and lost, That many a life hath cost.
IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Mortality, behold and fear! What a change of flesh is here! Think how many royal bones Sleep beneath this heap of stones! Here they lie had realms and lands, Who now want strength to stir their hands. Here from their pulpits sealed with dust They preach, 'In greatness is no trust.' Here is an acre sown indeed With the richest, royall'st seed That the earth did e'er suck in, Since the first man died for sin. Here the bones of birth have cried, 'Though gods they were, as men they died.' Here are sands, ignoble things, Dropt from the ruined sides of kings. Here's a world of pomp and state, Buried in dust, once dead by fate.
Get up, get up for shame! The blooming morn Upon her wings presents the god unshorn: See how Aurora throws her fair Fresh-quilted colours through the air: Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see The dew-bespangled herb and tree! Each flower has wept and bowed toward the east, Above an hour since, yet you not drest, Nay, not so much as out of bed? When all the birds have matins said, And sung their thankful hymns, 'tis sin, Nay, profanation, to keep in, Whenas a thousand virgins on this day Spring sooner than the lark to fetch in May.
Rise, and put on your foliage, and be seen To come forth like the spring-time fresh and green, And sweet as Flora. Take no care For jewels for your gown or hair: Fear not; the leaves will strew Gems in abundance upon you: Besides, the childhood of the day has kept, Against you come, some orient pearls unwept. Come, and receive them while the light Hangs on the dew-locks of the night, And Titan on the eastern hill Retires himself, or else stands still Till you come forth! Wash, dress, be brief in praying: Few beads are best when once we go a-Maying.
Come, my Corinna, come; and coming, mark How each field turns a street, each street a park, Made green and trimmed with trees! see how Devotion gives each house a bough Or branch! each porch, each door, ere this, An ark, a tabernacle is, Made up of white-thorn neatly interwove, As if here were those cooler shades of love. Can such delights be in the street And open fields, and we not see 't? Come, we'll abroad: and let's obey The proclamation made for May, And sin no more, as we have done, by staying, But, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.
There's not a budding boy or girl this day, But is got up and gone to bring in May. A deal of youth ere this is come Back and with white-thorn laden home. Some have despatched their cakes and cream, Before that we have left to dream: And some have wept and wooed, and plighted troth, And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth: Many a green-gown has been given, Many a kiss, both odd and even: Many a glance too has been sent From out the eye, love's firmament: Many a jest told of the keys betraying This night, and locks picked: yet we're not a-Maying.
Come, let us go, while we are in our prime, And take the harmless folly of the time! We shall grow old apace, and die Before we know our liberty. Our life is short, and our days run As fast away as does the sun. And, as a vapour or a drop of rain, Once lost can ne'er be found again, So when or you or I are made A fable, song, or fleeting shade, All love, all liking, all delight, Lies drowned with us in endless night. Then, while time serves, and we are but decaying, Come, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.
WHO MAY COMMAND HIM ANYTHING
Bid me to live, and I will live Thy Protestant to be; Or bid me love and I will give A loving heart to thee.
A heart as soft, a heart as kind, A heart as sound and free, As in the whole world thou canst find, That heart I'll give to thee.
Bid that heart stay, and it will stay To honour thy decree; Or bid it languish quite away, And 't shall do so for thee.
Bid me to weep, and I will weep While I have eyes to see; And, having none, yet I will keep A heart to weep for thee.
Bid me despair, and I'll despair Under that cypress-tree; Or bid me die, and I will dare E'en death to die for thee.
Thou art my life, my love, my heart, The very eyes of me, And hast command of every part, To live and die for thee.
Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright— The bridal of the earth and sky— The dew shall weep thy fall to-night, For thou must die.
Sweet rose, whose hue, angry and brave, Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye, Thy root is ever in its grave, And thou must die.
Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses, A box where sweets compacted lie, My music shows ye have your closes, And all must die.
Only a sweet and virtuous soul Like seasoned timber never gives, But, though the whole world turn to coal, Then chiefly lives.
THE KING OF KINGS
The glories of our birth and state Are shadows, not substantial things: There is no armour against fate: Death lays his icy hand on kings: Sceptre and crown Must tumble down, And in the dust be equal made With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
Some men with swords may reap the field, And plant fresh laurels when they kill, But their strong nerves at last must yield: They tame but one another still. Early or late They stoop to fate, And must give up their murmuring breath When they, pale captives, creep to death.
The garlands wither on their brow— Then boast no more your mighty deeds! Upon Death's purple altar now See where the victor-victim bleeds! All heads must come To the cold tomb: Only the actions of the just Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust.
Yet once more, O ye laurels, and once more, Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere, I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude, And with forced fingers rude Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year. Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear, Compels me to disturb your season due: For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime, Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer: Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew Himself to sing and build the lofty rhyme. He must not float upon his watery bier Unwept, and welter to the parching wind, Without the meed of some melodious tear. Begin, then, sisters of the sacred well, That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring; Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string; Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse: So may some gentle Muse With lucky words favour my destined urn, And, as he passes, turn And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud! For we were nursed upon the selfsame hill, Fed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill. Together both, ere the high lawns appeared Under the opening eyelids of the morn, We drove afield, and both together heard What time the grey-fly winds her sultry horn Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night, Oft till the star that rose at evening bright Towards heaven's descent had sloped his westering wheel. Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute, Tempered to the oaten flute; Rough satyrs danced, and fauns with cloven heel From the glad sound would not be absent long; And old Damoetas loved to hear our song. But O the heavy change, now thou art gone, Now thou art gone, and never must return! Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods, and desert caves With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown, And all their echoes, mourn. The willows and the hazel copses green Shall now no more be seen Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays, As killing as the canker to the rose, Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze, Or frost to flowers that their gay wardrobe wear When first the white-thorn blows, Such, Lycidas, thy loss to Shepherds' ear. Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep Closed o'er the head of your loved Lycidas? For neither were ye playing on the steep Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie, Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high, Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream: Ay me! I fondly dream 'Had ye been there,' ... for what could that have done? What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore, The Muse herself, for her enchanting son Whom universal nature did lament, When by the rout that made the hideous roar His gory visage down the stream was sent, Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore? Alas! what boots it with incessant care To tend the homely slighted shepherd's trade, And strictly meditate the thankless Muse? Were it not better done, as others use, To sport with Amaryllis in the shade Or with the tangles of Neaera's hair? Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise (That last infirmity of noble mind) To scorn delights and live laborious days; But the fair guerdon when we hope to find, And think to burst out into sudden blaze, Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears, And slits the thin-spun life. 'But not the praise,' Phoebus replied, and touched my trembling ears: 'Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil, Nor in the glistering foil Set off to the world nor in broad rumour lies, But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes And perfect witness of all-judging Jove; As he pronounces lastly on each deed, Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed.' O fountain Arethuse, and thou honoured flood, Smooth-sliding Mincius, crowned with vocal reeds, That strain I heard was of a higher mood! But now my oat proceeds, And listens to the Herald of the Sea That came in Neptune's plea. He asked the waves, and asked the felon winds, What hard mishap hath doomed this gentle swain? And questioned every gust of rugged wings That blows from off each beaked promontory: They knew not of his story, And sage Hippotades their answer brings, That not a blast was from his dungeon strayed: The air was calm, and on the level brine Sleek Panope with all her sisters played. It was that fatal and perfidious bark, Built in the eclipse and rigged with curses dark, That sunk so low that sacred head of thine. Next, Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow, His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge, Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge Like to that sanguine flower inscribed with woe. 'Ah! who hath reft,' quoth he, 'my dearest pledge?' Last came, and last did go, The Pilot of the Galilean Lake; Two massy keys he bore of metals twain (The golden opes, the iron shuts amain). He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake: 'How well could I have spared for thee, young swain, Enow of such as for their bellies' sake Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold! Of other care they little reckoning make Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast, And shove away the worthy bidden guest; Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold A sheep-hook, or have learnt aught else the least That to the faithful herdman's art belongs! What recks it them? What need they? They are sped; And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw; The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed, But, swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw, Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread: Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw Daily devours apace, and nothing said: But that two-handed engine at the door Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.' Return, Alpheus, the dread voice is past That shrunk thy streams; return, Sicilian Muse, And call the vales, and bid them hither cast Their bells and flowerets of a thousand hues. Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks, On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks; Throw hither all your quaint enamelled eyes That on the green turf suck the honeyed showers, And purple all the ground with vernal flowers. Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies, The tufted crow-toe and pale jessamine, The white pink and the pansy freaked with jet, The glowing violet, The musk-rose and the well-attired woodbine, With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head, And every flower that sad embroidery wears: Bid Amaranthus all his beauty shed, And daffadillies fill their cups with tears, To strew the laureate hearse where Lycid lies. For, so to interpose a little ease, Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise; Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurled; Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides, Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world; Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied, Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, Where the great vision of the guarded mount Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold; Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth: And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth. Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more, For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead, Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor. So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed, And yet anon repairs his drooping head, And tricks his beams, and with new spangled ore Flames in the forehead of the morning sky: So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high, Through the dear might of Him that walked the waves, Where, other groves and other streams along, With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves, And hears the unexpressive nuptial song, In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love There entertain him all the Saints above, In solemn troops and sweet societies That sing, and singing in their glory move, And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes. Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more; Henceforth thou art the genius of the shore In thy large recompense, and shalt be good To all that wander in that perilous flood. Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and rills, While the still morn went out with sandals grey; He touched the tender stops of various quills, With eager thought warbling his Doric lay: And now the sun had stretched out all the hills, And now was dropt into the western bay: At last he rose, and twitched his mantle blue; To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new.
ARMS AND THE MUSE
WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED ON THE CITY
Captain, or Colonel, or Knight in Arms, Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize, If deed of honour did thee ever please, Guard them, and him within protect from harms. He can requite thee; for he knows the charms That call fame on such gentle acts as these, And he can spread thy name o'er land and seas, Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms. Lift not thy spear against the Muses' bower: The great Emanthian conqueror bid spare The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower Went to the ground; and the repeated air Of sad Electra's poet had the power To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare.
TO THE LORD GENERAL
Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud Not of war only, but detractions rude, Guided by faith and matchless fortitude, To peace and truth thy glorious way hast ploughed, And on the neck of crowned Fortune proud Hast reared God's trophies, and his work pursued, While Darwen stream, with blood of Scots imbrued, And Dunbar field, resounds thy praises loud, And Worcester's laureate wreath: yet much remains To conquer still; peace hath her victories No less renowned than war: new foes arise, Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains. Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw.
THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEDMONT
Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold; Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old, When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones, Forget not: in thy book record their groans Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold Slain by the bloody Piedmontese that rolled Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans The vales redoubled to the hills, and they To heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sow O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway The triple Tyrant; that from these may grow A hundredfold, who, having learnt thy way, Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
ON HIS BLINDNESS
When I consider how my light is spent Ere half my days in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, lest He, returning, chide; 'Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?' I fondly ask: but patience, to prevent That murmur soon replies: 'God doth not need Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed, And post o'er land and ocean without rest; They also serve who only stand and wait.'
EYELESS AT GAZA
This, this is he; softly a while; Let us not break in upon him. O change beyond report, thought, or belief! See how he lies at random, carelessly diffused With languished head unpropt, As one past hope, abandoned, And by himself given over, In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds O'er-worn and soiled. Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he, That heroic, that renowned, Irresistible Samson? whom unarmed No strength of man or fiercest wild beast could withstand; Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid; Ran on embattled armies clad in iron, And, weaponless himself, Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery Of brazen shield and spear, the hammered cuirass, Chalybean-tempered steel, and frock of mail Adamantean proof: But safest he who stood aloof, When insupportably his foot advanced, In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools, Spurned them to death by troops. The bold Ascalonite Fled from his lion ramp; old warriors turned Their plated backs under his heel, Or grovelling soiled their crested helmets in the dust.
OUT OF ADVERSITY
O how comely it is, and how reviving To the spirits of just men long oppressed, When God into the hands of their deliverer Puts invincible might To quell the mighty of the earth, the oppressor, The brute and boisterous force of violent men, Hardy and industrious to support Tyrannic power, but raging to pursue The righteous and all such as honour truth! He all their ammunition And feats of war defeats, With plain heroic magnitude of mind And celestial vigour armed; Their armouries and magazines contemns, Renders them useless, while With winged expedition Swift as the lightning glance he executes His errand on the wicked, who, surprised, Lose their defence, distracted and amazed.
My dear and only love, I pray That little world of thee Be governed by no other sway But purest monarchy; For if confusion have a part, Which virtuous souls abhor, And hold a synod in thy heart, I'll never love thee more.
Like Alexander I will reign, And I will reign alone: My thoughts did evermore disdain A rival on my throne. He either fears his fate too much, Or his deserts are small, Who dares not put it to the touch, To gain or lose it all.
But, if thou wilt prove faithful then And constant of thy word, I'll make thee glorious by my pen, And famous by my sword; I'll serve thee in such noble ways Was never heard before; I'll crown and deck thee all with bays And love thee more and more.
GOING TO THE WARS
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind, That from the nunnery Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind To war and arms I fly.
True, a new mistress now I chase, The first foe in the field, And with a stronger faith embrace A sword, a horse, a shield.
Yet this inconstancy is such As you too shall adore: I could not love thee, Dear, so much Loved I not Honour more.
When Love with unconfined wings Hovers within my gates, And my divine Althea brings To whisper at the grates; When I lie tangled in her hair And fettered to her eye, The Gods that wanton in the air Know no such liberty.
When flowing cups run swiftly round With no allaying Thames, Our careless heads with roses crowned, Our hearts with loyal flames; When thirsty grief in wine we steep, When healths and draughts go free, Fishes that tipple in the deep Know no such liberty.
When, linnet-like confined, I With shriller throat shall sing The sweetness, mercy, majesty, And glories of my King; When I shall voice aloud how good He is, how great should be, Enlarged winds that curl the flood Know no such liberty.
Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage; Minds innocent and quiet take That for an hermitage: If I have freedom in my love And in my soul am free, Angels alone that soar above Enjoy such liberty.
The forward youth that would appear Must now forsake his Muses dear, Nor in the shadows sing His numbers languishing.
'Tis time to leave the books in dust, And oil the unused armour's rust, Removing from the wall The corselet of the hall.
So restless Cromwell could not cease In the inglorious arts of peace, But through adventurous war Urged his active star;
And, like the three-forked lightning, first Breaking the clouds where it was nurst, Did thorough his own side His fiery way divide;
For 'tis all one to courage high, The emulous or enemy, And with such to inclose Is more than to oppose;
Then burning through the air he went, And palaces and temples rent; And Caesar's head at last Did through his laurels blast.
'Tis madness to resist or blame The face of angry Heaven's flame; And if we would speak true, Much to the man is due,
Who from his private gardens, where He lived reserved and austere, As if his highest plot To plant the bergamot,
Could by industrious valour climb To ruin the great work of Time, And cast the kingdoms old Into another mould.
Though Justice against Fate complain, And plead the ancient rights in vain (But those do hold or break, As men are strong or weak),
Nature, that hated emptiness, Allows of penetration less, And therefore must make room Where greater spirits come.
What field of all the civil war, Where his were not the deepest scar? And Hampton shows what part He had of wiser art,
Where, twining subtile fears with hope, He wove a net of such a scope That Charles himself might chase To Carisbrook's narrow case,
That thence the royal actor borne The tragic scaffold might adorn: While round the armed bands, Did clap their bloody hands.
He nothing common did or mean Upon that memorable scene, But with his keener eye The axe's edge did try;
Nor called the gods with vulgar spite To vindicate his helpless right, But bowed his comely head Down, as upon a bed.
This was that memorable hour Which first assured the forced power: So, when they did design The Capitol's first line,
A bleeding head, where they begun, Did fright the architects to run; And yet in that the State Foresaw its happy fate!
And now the Irish are ashamed To see themselves in one year tamed: So much one man can do That doth both act and know.
They can affirm his praises best, And have, though overcome, confessed How good he is, how just, And fit for highest trust;
Nor yet grown stiffer with command, But still in the Republic's hand (How fit he is to sway, That can so well obey!),
He to the Commons' feet presents A kingdom for his first year's rents, And (what he may) forbears His fame to make it theirs:
And has his sword and spoils ungirt To lay them at the public's skirt. So when the falcon high Falls heavy from the sky,
She, having killed, no more doth search But on the next green bough to perch, Where, when he first does lure, The falconer has her sure.
What may not then our isle presume While victory his crest does plume? What may not others fear If thus he crowns each year?
As Caesar he, ere long, to Gaul, To Italy an Hannibal, And to all states not free Shall climacteric be.
The Pict no shelter now shall find Within his party-coloured mind, But from this valour sad Shrink underneath the plaid;
Happy if in the tufted brake The English hunter him mistake, Nor lay his hounds in near The Caledonian deer.
But thou, the war's and fortune's son, March indefatigably on, And for the last effect, Still keep the sword erect:
Besides the force it has to fright The spirits of the shady night, The same arts that did gain, A power must it maintain.
Where the remote Bermudas ride In the Ocean's bosom unespied, From a small boat that rowed along The listening winds received this song. 'What should we do but sing his praise That led us through the watery maze, Where he the huge sea-monsters wracks That lift the deep upon their backs, Unto an isle so long unknown, And yet far kinder than our own? He lands us on a grassy stage, Safe from the storms and prelates' rage: He gave us this eternal spring Which here enamels everything, And sends the fowls to us in care On daily visits through the air. He hangs in shades the orange bright Like golden lamps in a green night, And does in the pomegranates close Jewels more rich than Ormus shows: He makes the figs our mouths to meet, And throws the melons at our feet; But apples plants of such a price, No tree could ever bear them twice. With cedars chosen by his hand From Lebanon he stores the land, And makes the hollow seas that roar Proclaim the ambergrease on shore. He cast (of which we rather boast) The Gospel's pearl upon our coast, And in these rocks for us did frame A temple where to sound his name. O let our voice his praise exalt 'Till it arrive at heaven's vault, Which thence (perhaps) rebounding may Echo beyond the Mexique Bay!' Thus sang they in the English boat A holy and a cheerful note: And all the way, to guide their chime, With falling oars they kept the time.
'Twas at the royal feast for Persia won By Philip's warlike son: Aloft in awful state The godlike hero sate On his imperial throne; His valiant peers were placed around, Their brows with roses and with myrtles bound (So should desert in arms be crowned); The lovely Thais by his side Sate like a blooming Eastern bride In flower of youth and beauty's pride. Happy, happy, happy pair! None but the brave, None but the brave, None but the brave deserves the fair! Timotheus, placed on high Amid the tuneful quire, With flying fingers touched the lyre: The trembling notes ascend the sky And heavenly joys inspire. The song began from Jove Who left his blissful seats above, Such is the power of mighty love! A dragon's fiery form belied the god; Sublime on radiant spires he rode When he to fair Olympia pressed, And while he sought her snowy breast, Then round her slender waist he curled, And stamped an image of himself, a sovereign of the world. The listening crowd admire the lofty sound; A present deity! they shout around: A present deity! the vaulted roofs rebound: With ravished ears The monarch hears, Assumes the god; Affects to nod And seems to shake the spheres.
The praise of Bacchus then the sweet musician sung, Of Bacchus ever fair and ever young: The jolly god in triumph comes; Sound the trumpets, beat the drums! Flushed with a purple grace He shows his honest face: Now give the hautboys breath; he comes, he comes! Bacchus, ever fair and young, Drinking joys did first ordain; Bacchus' blessings are a treasure, Drinking is the soldier's pleasure: Rich the treasure, Sweet the pleasure, Sweet is pleasure after pain.
Soothed with the sound the king grew vain; Fought all his battles o'er again, And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew the slain! The master saw the madness rise, His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes; And while he heaven and earth defied Changed his hand, and checked his pride. He chose a mournful Muse Soft pity to infuse: He sung Darius great and good, By too severe a fate Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen, Fallen from his high estate, And weltering in his blood; Deserted at his utmost need By those his former bounty fed, On the bare earth exposed he lies With not a friend to close his eyes. With downcast looks the joyless victor sate, Revolving in his altered soul The various turns of Chance below And now and then a sigh he stole, And tears began to flow.
The mighty master smiled to see That love was in the next degree; 'Twas but a kindred-sound to move, For pity melts the mind to love. Softly sweet, in Lydian measures Soon he soothed his soul to pleasures. War, he sang, is toil and trouble, Honour but an empty bubble; Never ending, still beginning, Fighting still, and still destroying; If the world be worth thy winning, Think, O think, it worth enjoying: Lovely Thais sits beside thee, Take the good the gods provide thee. The many rend the skies with loud applause; So love was crowned, but Music won the cause. The prince, unable to conceal his pain, Gazed on the fair Who caused his care, And sighed and looked, sighed and looked, Sighed and looked, and sighed again: At length, with love and wine at once oppressed, The vanquished victor sunk upon her breast.
Now strike the golden lyre again: A louder yet, and yet a louder strain! Break his bands of sleep asunder And rouse him like a rattling peal of thunder. Hark, hark! the horrid sound Has raised up his head; As awaked from the dead, And amazed he stares around. Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries, See the Furies arise! See the snakes that they rear, How they hiss in their hair, And the sparkles that flash from their eyes! Behold a ghastly band, Each a torch in his hand! Those are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain And unburied remain Inglorious on the plain: Give the vengeance due To the valiant crew! Behold how they toss their torches on high, How they point to the Persian abodes And glittering temples of their hostile gods. The princes applaud with a furious joy: And the King seized a flambeau with zeal to destroy; Thais led the way To light him to his prey, And like another Helen fired another Troy!
Thus long ago, Ere heaving bellows learned to blow, While organs yet were mute, Timotheus, to his breathing flute And sounding lyre, Could swell the soul to rage or kindle soft desire. At last divine Cecilia came, Inventress of the vocal frame; The sweet enthusiast from her sacred store Enlarged the former narrow bounds, And added length to solemn sounds, With Nature's mother-wit and arts unknown before Let old Timotheus yield the prize, Or both divide the crown: He raised a mortal to the skies; She drew an angel down.
THE QUIET LIFE
Condemned to Hope's delusive mine, As on we toil from day to day, By sudden blast or slow decline Our social comforts drop away.
Well tried through many a varying year, See Levett to the grave descend: Officious, innocent, sincere, Of every friendless name the friend.
Yet still he fills affection's eye, Obscurely wise and coarsely kind; Nor, lettered arrogance, deny Thy praise to merit unrefined.
When fainting Nature called for aid, And hovering death prepared the blow, His vigorous remedy displayed The power of art without the show.
In misery's darkest caverns known, His ready help was ever nigh, Where hopeless anguish poured his groan, And lonely want retired to die.
No summons mocked by chill delay, No petty gains disdained by pride: The modest wants of every day The toil of every day supplied.
His virtues walked their narrow round, Nor made a pause, nor left a void; And sure the eternal Master found His single talent well employed.
The busy day, the peaceful night, Unfelt, uncounted, glided by; His frame was firm, his powers were bright, Though now his eightieth year was nigh.
Then, with no throbs of fiery pain, No cold gradations of decay, Death broke at once the vital chain, And freed his soul the nearest way.
God prosper long our noble king, Our lives and safeties all; A woeful hunting once there did In Chevy-Chace befall;
To drive the deer with hound and horn Erle Percy took his way; The child may rue that is unborn, The hunting of that day.
The stout Erle of Northumberland A vow to God did make, His pleasure in the Scottish woods Three summer's days to take,
The chiefest harts in Chevy-Chace To kill and bear away. These tydings to Erle Douglas came, In Scotland where he lay:
Who sent Erle Percy present word, He wold prevent his sport. The English Erle, not fearing that, Did to the woods resort
With fifteen hundred bow-men bold, All chosen men of might, Who knew full well in time of neede To ayme their shafts aright.
The gallant greyhounds swiftly ran, To chase the fallow deere: On Monday they began to hunt, Ere daylight did appeare;
And long before high noone they had An hundred fat buckes slaine; Then having dined, the drovyers went To rouse the deere againe.
The bow-men mustered on the hills, Well able to endure; Their backsides all, with special care That day were guarded sure.
The hounds ran swiftly through the woods, The nimble deere to take, And with their cryes the hills and dales An echo shrill did make.
Lord Percy to the quarry went, To view the slaughtered deere: Quoth he, 'Erle Douglas promised This day to meet me here,
But if I thought he wold not come, No longer wold I stay.' With that, a brave younge gentleman Thus to the Erle did say:
'Lo, yonder doth Erle Douglas come, His men in armour bright; Full twenty hundred Scottish speares All marching in our sight;
All men of pleasant Tivydale, Fast by the river Tweede': 'O, cease your sports,' Erle Percy said, 'And take your bowes with speede;
And now with me, my countrymen, Your courage forth advance, For there was never champion yet, In Scotland or in France,
That ever did on horsebacke come, But if my hap it were, I durst encounter man for man, And with him break a speare.'
Erle Douglas on his milke-white steede, Most like a baron bold, Rode foremost of his company, Whose armour shone like gold.
'Show me,' said he, 'whose men ye be, That hunt so boldly here, That, without my consent, do chase And kill my fallow-deere.'
The first man that did answer make, Was noble Percy he; Who sayd, 'We list not to declare, Nor shew whose men we be,
Yet we will spend our dearest blood, Thy chiefest harts to slay.' Then Douglas swore a solemn oath, And thus in rage did say:
'Ere thus I will out-braved be, One of us two shall dye: I know thee well, an erle thou art; Lord Percy, so am I.
But trust me, Percy, pittye it were, And great offence to kill Any of these our guiltlesse men, For they have done no ill.
Let thou and I the battell trye, And set our men aside.' 'Accurst be he,' Erle Percy said, 'By whom this is denied.'
Then stept a gallant squier forth, Witherington was his name, Who said, 'I wold not have it told To Henry our king for shame,
That ere my captaine fought on foote, And I stood looking on. Ye be two erles,' said Witherington, 'And I a squier alone:
Ile do the best that do I may, While I have power to stand: While I have power to wield my sword, Ile fight with heart and hand.'
Our English archers bent their bowes, Their hearts were good and trew, At the first flight of arrowes sent, Full fourscore Scots they slew.
Yet bides Erle Douglas on the bent, As Chieftain stout and good. As valiant Captain, all unmoved The shock he firmly stood.
His host he parted had in three, As leader ware and try'd, And soon his spearmen on their foes Bare down on every side.
Throughout the English archery They dealt full many a wound; But still our valiant Englishmen All firmly kept their ground,
And, throwing strait their bowes away, They grasped their swords so bright, And now sharp blows, a heavy shower, On shields and helmets light.
They closed full fast on every side, No slackness there was found; And many a gallant gentleman Lay gasping on the ground.
O Christ! it was a griefe to see, And likewise for to heare, The cries of men lying in their gore, And scattered here and there!
At last these two stout erles did meet, Like captaines of great might: Like lions wode, they laid on lode, And made a cruel fight:
They fought untill they both did sweat With swords of tempered steele; Until the blood like drops of rain They trickling downe did feele.
'Yield thee, Lord Percy,' Douglas said; 'In faith I will thee bringe, Where thou shalt high advanced be By James our Scottish king:
Thy ransome I will freely give, And this report of thee, Thou art the most courageous knight, That ever I did see.'
'No, Douglas,' quoth Erle Percy then, 'Thy proffer I do scorne; I will not yield to any Scot, That ever yet was borne.'
With that, there came an arrow keene Out of an English bow, Which struck Erle Douglas to the heart, A deep and deadly blow:
Who never spake more words than these, 'Fight on, my merry men all; For why, my life is at an end; Lord Percy sees my fall.'
Then leaving life, Erle Percy tooke The dead man by the hand; And said, 'Erle Douglas, for thy life Wold I had lost my land!
O Christ! my very heart doth bleed With sorrow for thy sake, For sure, a more redoubted knight Mischance could never take.'
A knight amongst the Scots there was, Which saw Erle Douglas dye, Who straight in wrath did vow revenge Upon the Lord Percye.
Sir Hugh Mountgomery was he called Who, with a speare most bright, Well-mounted on a gallant steed, Ran fiercely through the fight,
And past the English archers all, Without or dread or feare, And through Erle Percy's body then He thrust his hateful speare.
With such a vehement force and might He did his body gore, The staff ran through the other side A large cloth-yard, and more.
So thus did both these nobles dye, Whose courage none could staine! An English archer then perceived The noble Erle was slaine:
He had a bow bent in his hand, Made of a trusty tree; An arrow of a cloth-yard long Up to the head drew he;
Against Sir Hugh Mountgomerye So right the shaft he set, The grey goose-winge that was thereon In his heart's bloode was wet.
This fight did last from breake of day Till setting of the sun; For when they rung the evening-bell, The battle scarce was done.
With stout Erle Percy, there was slaine Sir John of Egerton, Sir Robert Ratcliff, and Sir John, Sir James, that bold baron;
And with Sir George and stout Sir James, Both knights of good account, Good Sir Ralph Raby there was slaine, Whose prowesse did surmount.
For Witherington needs must I wayle, As one in doleful dumpes; For when his legs were smitten off, He fought upon his stumpes.
And with Erle Douglas, there was slaine Sir Hugh Mountgomerye, Sir Charles Murray, that from the field One foote would never flee;
Sir Charles Murray, of Ratcliff, too, His sister's sonne was he; Sir David Lamb, so well esteemed, Yet saved he could not be;
And the Lord Maxwell in like case Did with Erle Douglas dye: Of twenty hundred Scottish speares, Scarce fifty-five did flye.
Of fifteen hundred Englishmen, Went home but fifty-three: The rest were slaine in Chevy-Chace, Under the greene woode tree.
Next day did many widdowes come, Their husbands to bewayle; They washt their wounds in brinish teares, But all wold not prevayle;
Their bodyes, bathed in purple gore, They bore with them away; They kist them dead a thousand times, Ere they were clad in clay.
The newes was brought to Eddenborrow, Where Scotland's king did raigne, That brave Erle Douglas suddenlye Was with an arrow slaine:
'O heavy newes,' King James did say, 'Scotland may witnesse be, I have not any captaine more Of such account as he.'
Like tydings to King Henry came, Within as short a space, That Percy of Northumberland Was slaine in Chevy-Chace:
'Now God be with him,' said our king, 'Sith it will no better be; I trust I have, within my realme, Five hundred as good as he:
Yet shall not Scots nor Scotland say, But I will vengeance take: I'll be revenged on them all, For brave Erle Percy's sake.'
This vow full well the king performed After, at Humbledowne; In one day, fifty knights were slayne, With lords of great renowne,
And of the rest, of small account, Did many thousands dye. Thus endeth the hunting of Chevy-Chace, Made by the Erle Percye.
God save our king, and bless this land With plentye, joy, and peace, And grant henceforth that foule debate 'Twixt noblemen may cease!
SIR PATRICK SPENS
The King sits in Dunfermline town, Drinking the blude-red wine: 'O whaur will I get a skeely skipper To sail this new ship o' mine?'
O up and spake an eldern knight, Sat at the King's right knee: 'Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor That ever sailed the sea.'
Our King has written a braid letter And sealed it wi' his hand, And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens, Was walking on the strand.
'To Noroway, to Noroway, To Noroway o'er the faem; The King's daughter to Noroway, 'Tis thou maun bring her hame.'
The first word that Sir Patrick read, Sae loud, loud lauched he; The neist word that Sir Patrick read, The tear blinded his ee.
'O wha is this has done this deed, And tauld the King of me, To send us out at this time o' year To sail upon the sea?
Be it wind, be it weet, be it hail, be it sleet, Our ship must sail the faem; The King's daughter to Noroway, 'Tis we must bring her hame.'
They hoysed their sails on Monday morn Wi' a' the speed they may; They hae landed in Noroway Upon a Wodensday.
They hadna been a week, a week, In Noroway but twae, When that the lords o' Noroway Began aloud to say:
'Ye Scottishmen spend a' our King's goud And a' our Queenis fee.' 'Ye lie, ye lie, ye liars loud, Fu' loud I hear ye lie!
For I brought as mickle white monie As gane my men and me, And I brought a half-fou o' gude red goud Out-o'er the sea wi' me.
Mak' ready, mak' ready, my merry men a'! Our gude ship sails the morn.' 'Now, ever alake, my master dear, I fear a deadly storm.
I saw the new moon late yestreen Wi' the auld moon in her arm; And, if we gang to sea, master, I fear we'll come to harm.'
They hadna sailed a league, a league, A league but barely three, When the lift grew dark, and the wind blew loud, And gurly grew the sea.
'O where will I get a gude sailor To tak' my helm in hand, Till I gae up to the tall topmast To see if I can spy land?'
'O here am I, a sailor gude, To tak' the helm in hand, Till you gae up to the tall topmast; But I fear you'll ne'er spy land.'
He hadna gane a step, a step, A step but barely ane, When a bolt flew out o' our goodly ship, And the salt sea it came in.
'Gae fetch a web o' the silken claith, Anither o' the twine, And wap them into our ship's side, And letna the sea come in.'
They fetched a web o' the silken claith, Anither o' the twine, And they wapped them round that gude ship's side, But still the sea cam' in.
O laith, laith were our gude Scots lords To weet their milk-white hands; But lang ere a' the play was ower They wat their gowden bands.
O laith, laith were our gude Scots lords To weet their cork-heeled shoon; But lang ere a' the play was played They wat their hats aboon.
O lang, lang may the ladies sit Wi' their fans intill their hand, Before they see Sir Patrick Spens Come sailing to the strand!
And lang, lang may the maidens sit Wi' their goud kaims in their hair, A' waiting for their ain dear loves! For them they'll see nae mair.
Half ower, half ower to Aberdour, It's fifty fathoms deep, And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens Wi' the Scots lords at his feet.
BRAVE LORD WILLOUGHBY
The fifteenth day of July, With glistering spear and shield, A famous fight in Flanders Was foughten in the field: The most conspicuous officers Were English captains three, But the bravest man in battel Was brave Lord Willoughby.
The next was Captain Norris, A valiant man was he: The other, Captain Turner, From field would never flee. With fifteen hundred fighting men, Alas! there were no more, They fought with forty thousand then Upon the bloody shore.
'Stand to it, noble pikeman, And look you round about: And shoot you right, you bow-men, And we will keep them out: You musquet and cailiver men, Do you prove true to me, I'll be the bravest man in fight,' Says brave Lord Willoughby.
And then the bloody enemy They fiercely did assail, And fought it out most furiously, Not doubting to prevail: The wounded men on both sides fell Most piteous for to see, But nothing could the courage quell Of brave Lord Willoughby.
For seven hours to all men's view This fight endured sore, Until our men so feeble grew That they could fight no more; And then upon dead horses Full savourly they eat, And drank the puddle water, That could no better get.
When they had fed so freely, They kneeled on the ground, And praised God devoutly For the favour they had found; And bearing up their colours, The fight they did renew, And cutting tow'rds the Spaniard, Five thousand more they slew.
The sharp steel-pointed arrows And bullets thick did fly; Then did our valiant soldiers Charge on most furiously: Which made the Spaniards waver, They thought it best to flee: They feared the stout behaviour Of brave Lord Willoughby.
Then quoth the Spanish general, 'Come, let us march away, I fear we shall be spoiled all If that we longer stay: For yonder comes Lord Willoughby With courage fierce and fell, He will not give one inch of ground For all the devils in hell.'
And when the fearful enemy Was quickly put to flight, Our men pursued courageously To rout his forces quite; And at last they gave a shout Which echoed through the sky: 'God, and St. George for England!' The conquerors did cry.
This news was brought to England With all the speed might be, And soon our gracious Queen was told Of this same victory. 'O! this is brave Lord Willoughby, My love that ever won: Of all the lords of honour 'Tis he great deeds hath done!'
To the soldiers that were maimed, And wounded in the fray, The queen allowed a pension Of fifteen pence a day, And from all costs and charges She quit and set them free: And this she did all for the sake Of brave Lord Willoughby.
Then courage, noble Englishmen, And never be dismayed! If that we be but one to ten, We will not be afraid To fight with foreign enemies, And set our country free. And thus I end the bloody bout Of brave Lord Willoughby.
HUGHIE THE GRAEME
Good Lord Scroope to the hills is gane, Hunting of the fallow deer; And he has grippit Hughie the Graeme For stealing of the Bishop's mare.
'Now, good Lord Scroope, this may not be! Here hangs a broadsword by my side; And if that thou canst conquer me, The matter it may soon be tried.'
'I ne'er was afraid of a traitor thief; Although thy name be Hughie the Graeme, I'll make thee repent thee of thy deeds, If God but grant me life and time.'
But as they were dealing their blows so free, And both so bloody at the time, Over the moss came ten yeomen so tall, All for to take bold Hughie the Graeme.
O then they grippit Hughie the Graeme, And brought him up through Carlisle town: The lads and lasses stood on the walls, Crying, 'Hughie the Graeme, thou'se ne'er gae down!'
'O loose my right hand free,' he says, 'And gie me my sword o' the metal sae fine, He's no in Carlisle town this day Daur tell the tale to Hughie the Graeme.'
Up then and spake the brave Whitefoord, As he sat by the Bishop's knee, 'Twenty white owsen, my gude lord, If ye'll grant Hughie the Graeme to me.'
'O haud your tongue,' the Bishop says, 'And wi' your pleading let me be; For tho' ten Grahams were in his coat, They suld be hangit a' for me.'
Up then and spake the fair Whitefoord, As she sat by the Bishop's knee, 'A peck o' white pennies, my good lord, If ye'll grant Hughie the Graeme to me.'
'O haud your tongue now, lady fair, Forsooth, and so it sall na be; Were he but the one Graham of the name, He suld be hangit high for me.'
They've ta'en him to the gallows knowe, He looked to the gallows tree, Yet never colour left his cheek, Nor ever did he blink his e'e.
He looked over his left shoulder To try whatever he could see, And he was aware of his auld father, Tearing his hair most piteouslie.
'O haud your tongue, my father dear, And see that ye dinna weep for me! For they may ravish me o' my life, But they canna banish me fro' Heaven hie.
And ye may gie my brither John My sword that's bent in the middle clear, And let him come at twelve o'clock, And see me pay the Bishop's mare.
And ye may gie my brither James My sword that's bent in the middle brown, And bid him come at four o'clock, And see his brither Hugh cut down.
And ye may tell my kith and kin I never did disgrace their blood; And when they meet the Bishop's cloak, To mak' it shorter by the hood.'
O have ye na heard o' the fause Sakelde? O have ye na heard o' the keen Lord Scroope? How they hae ta'en bold Kinmont Willie, On Haribee to hang him up?
Had Willie had but twenty men, But twenty men as stout as he, Fause Sakelde had never the Kinmont ta'en, Wi' eight score in his cumpanie.
They band his legs beneath the steed, They tied his hands behind his back; They guarded him fivesome on each side, And they brought him ower the Liddel-rack.
They led him thro' the Liddel-rack, And also thro' the Carlisle sands; They brought him on to Carlisle castle To be at my Lord Scroope's commands.
'My hands are tied, but my tongue is free, And wha will dare this deed avow? Or answer by the Border law? Or answer to the bold Buccleuch?'
'Now haud thy tongue, thou rank reiver! There's never a Scot shall set thee free: Before ye cross my castle yett, I trow ye shall take farewell o' me.'
'Fear na ye that, my lord,' quo' Willie: 'By the faith o' my body, Lord Scroope,' he said, 'I never yet lodged in a hostelrie But I paid my lawing before I gaed.'
THE KEEPER'S WRATH
Now word is gane to the bold Keeper, In Branksome Ha' where that he lay, That Lord Scroope has ta'en the Kinmont Willie, Between the hours of night and day.
He has ta'en the table wi' his hand, He garred the red wine spring on hie: 'Now a curse upon my head,' he said, 'But avenged of Lord Scroope I'll be!
O is my basnet a widow's curch? Or my lance a wand of the willow-tree? Or my arm a lady's lily hand, That an English lord should lightly me!
And have they ta'en him, Kinmont Willie, Against the truce of Border tide? And forgotten that the bold Buccleuch Is keeper here on the Scottish side?
And have they e'en ta'en him, Kinmont Willie, Withouten either dread or fear? And forgotten that the bold Buccleuch Can back a steed or shake a spear?
O were there war between the lands, As well I wot that there is none, I would slight Carlisle castle high, Though it were builded of marble stone.
I would set that castle in a lowe, And slocken it with English blood! There's never a man in Cumberland Should ken where Carlisle castle stood.
But since nae war's between the lands, And there is peace, and peace should be, I'll neither harm English lad or lass, And yet the Kinmont freed shall be!'
He has called him forty Marchmen bold, I trow they were of his ain name, Except Sir Gilbert Elliot, called The Laird of Stobs, I mean the same.
He has called him forty Marchmen bold, Were kinsmen to the bold Buccleuch; With spur on heel, and splent on spauld, And gluves of green, and feathers blue.
There were five and five before them a', Wi' hunting-horns and bugles bright: And five and five cam' wi' Buccleuch, Like warden's men, arrayed for fight.
And five and five like a mason gang That carried the ladders lang and hie; And five and five like broken men; And so they reached the Woodhouselee.
And as we crossed the 'Bateable Land, When to the English side we held, The first o' men that we met wi', Whae suld it be but fause Sakelde?
'Where be ye gaun, ye hunters keen?' Quo' fause Sakelde; 'come tell to me!' 'We go to hunt an English stag Has trespassed on the Scots countrie.'
'Where be ye gaun, ye marshal men?' Quo' fause Sakelde; 'come tell me true!' 'We go to catch a rank reiver Has broken faith wi' the bold Buccleuch.'
'Where are ye gaun, ye mason lads, Wi' a' your ladders lang and hie?' 'We gang to herry a corbie's nest That wons not far frae Woodhouselee.'
'Where be ye gaun, ye broken men?' Quo' fause Sakelde; 'come tell to me!' Now Dickie of Dryhope led that band, And the never a word of lear had he.
'Why trespass ye on the English side? Row-footed outlaws, stand!' quo' he; The never a word had Dickie to say, Sae he thrust the lance through his fause bodie.
Then on we held for Carlisle toun, And at Staneshaw-Bank the Eden we crossed; The water was great and meikle of spait, But the never a horse nor man we lost.
And when we reached the Staneshaw-Bank, The wind was rising loud and hie; And there the Laird garred leave our steeds, For fear that they should stamp and neigh.
And when we left the Staneshaw-Bank, The wind began full loud to blaw; But 'twas wind and weet, and fire and sleet, When we came beneath the castle wa'.
We crept on knees, and held our breath, Till we placed the ladders against the wa'; And sae ready was Buccleuch himsell To mount the first before us a'.
He has ta'en the watchman by the throat, He flung him down upon the lead: 'Had there not been peace between our lands, Upon the other side thou'dst gaed!
Now sound out, trumpets!' quo' Buccleuch; 'Let's waken Lord Scroope right merrilie!' Then loud the warden's trumpet blew O wha dare meddle wi' me?
Then speedilie to wark we gaed, And raised the slogan ane and a', And cut a hole through a sheet of lead, And so we wan to the castle ha'.
They thought King James and a' his men Had won the house wi' bow and spear; It was but twenty Scots and ten That put a thousand in sic a stear!
Wi' coulters and wi' forehammers We garred the bars bang merrilie, Until we came to the inner prison, Where Willie o' Kinmont he did lie.
And when we cam' to the lower prison, Where Willie o' Kinmont he did lie: 'O sleep ye, wake ye, Kinmont Willie, Upon the morn that thou's to die?'
'O I sleep saft, and I wake aft; It's lang since sleeping was fleyed frae me! Gie my service back to my wife and bairns, And a' gude fellows that spier for me.'
Then Red Rowan has hente him up, The starkest man in Teviotdale: 'Abide, abide now, Red Rowan, Till of my Lord Scroope I take farewell.
Farewell, farewell, my gude Lord Scroope! My gude Lord Scroope, farewell!' he cried; 'I'll pay you for my lodging maill, When first we meet on the Border side.'
Then shoulder high with shout and cry We bore him down the ladder lang; At every stride Red Rowan made, I wot the Kinmont's airns played clang.
'O mony a time,' quo' Kinmont Willie, 'I have ridden horse baith wild and wood; But a rougher beast than Red Rowan I ween my legs have ne'er bestrode.
And mony a time,' quo' Kinmont Willie, 'I've pricked a horse out oure the furs; But since the day I backed a steed, I never wore sic cumbrous spurs!'
We scarce had won the Staneshaw-Bank When a' the Carlisle bells were rung, And a thousand men on horse and foot Cam' wi' the keen Lord Scroope along.
Buccleuch has turned to Eden Water, Even where it flowed frae bank to brim, And he has plunged in wi' a' his band, And safely swam them through the stream.
He turned him on the other side, And at Lord Scroope his glove flung he: 'If ye like na my visit in merrie England, In fair Scotland come visit me!'
All sore astonished stood Lord Scroope, He stood as still as rock of stane; He scarcely dared to trew his eyes, When through the water they had gane.
'He is either himsell a devil frae hell, Or else his mother a witch maun be; I wadna have ridden that wan water For a' the gowd in Christentie.'
THE HONOUR OF BRISTOL
Attend you, and give ear awhile, And you shall understand Of a battle fought upon the seas By a ship of brave command. The fight it was so glorious Men's hearts it did ful-fill, And it made them cry, 'To sea, to sea, With the Angel Gabriel!'
This lusty ship of Bristol Sailed out adventurously Against the foes of England, Her strength with them to try; Well victualled, rigged, and manned she was, With good provision still, Which made men cry, 'To sea, to sea, With the Angel Gabriel!'
The Captain, famous Netherway (That was his noble name): The Master—he was called John Mines— A mariner of fame: The Gunner, Thomas Watson, A man of perfect skill: With many another valiant heart In the Angel Gabriel.
They waving up and down the seas Upon the ocean main, 'It is not long ago,' quoth they, 'That England fought with Spain: O would the Spaniard we might meet Our stomachs to fulfil! We would play him fair a noble bout With our Angel Gabriel!'
They had no sooner spoken But straight appeared in sight Three lusty Spanish vessels Of warlike trim and might; With bloody resolution They thought our men to spill, And they vowed that they would make a prize Of our Angel Gabriel.
Our gallant ship had in her Full forty fighting men: With twenty piece of ordnance We played about them then, With powder, shot, and bullets Right well we worked our will, And hot and bloody grew the fight With our Angel Gabriel.
Our Captain to our Master said, 'Take courage, Master bold!' Our Master to the seamen said, 'Stand fast, my hearts of gold!' Our Gunner unto all the rest, 'Brave hearts, be valiant still! Fight on, fight on in the defence Of our Angel Gabriel!'
We gave them such a broadside, It smote their mast asunder, And tore the bowsprit off their ship, Which made the Spaniards wonder, And caused them in fear to cry, With voices loud and shrill, 'Help, help, or sunken we shall be By the Angel Gabriel!'
So desperately they boarded us For all our valiant shot, Threescore of their best fighting men Upon our decks were got; And lo! at their first entrances Full thirty did we kill, And thus we cleared with speed the deck Of our Angel Gabriel.
With that their three ships boarded us Again with might and main, But still our noble Englishmen Cried out, 'A fig for Spain!' Though seven times they boarded us At last we showed our skill, And made them feel what men we were On the Angel Gabriel.
Seven hours this fight continued: So many men lay dead, With Spanish blood for fathoms round The sea was coloured red. Five hundred of their fighting men We there outright did kill, And many more were hurt and maimed By our Angel Gabriel.
Then, seeing of these bloody spoils, The rest made haste away: For why, they said, it was no boot The longer there to stay. Then they fled into Cales, Where lie they must and will For fear lest they should meet again With our Angel Gabriel.
We had within our English ship But only three men slain, And five men hurt, the which I hope Will soon be well again. At Bristol we were landed, And let us praise God still, That thus hath blest our lusty hearts And our Angel Gabriel.
HELEN OF KIRKCONNELL
I wish I were where Helen lies, Night and day on me she cries; O that I were where Helen lies, On fair Kirkconnell lea!
Curst be the heart that thought the thought, And curst the hand that fired the shot, When in my arms burd Helen dropt, And died to succour me!
O thinkna ye my heart was sair When my love dropt down, and spak' nae mair? There did she swoon wi' meikle care, On fair Kirkconnell lea.
As I went down the water side, None but my foe to be my guide, None but my foe to be my guide On fair Kirkconnell lea;
I lighted down my sword to draw, I hacked him in pieces sma', I hacked him in pieces sma' For her sake that died for me.
O Helen fair beyond compare! I'll mak' a garland o' thy hair, Shall bind my heart for evermair, Until the day I dee!
O that I were where Helen lies! Night and day on me she cries; Out of my bed she bids me rise, Says, 'Haste, and come to me!'
O Helen fair! O Helen chaste! If I were with thee I were blest, Where thou lies low and takes thy rest, On fair Kirkconnell lea.
I wish my grave were growing green, A winding-sheet drawn ower my e'en, And I in Helen's arms lying On fair Kirkconnell lea.
I wish I were where Helen lies! Night and day on me she cries, And I am weary of the skies For her sake that died for me.
THE TWA CORBIES
As I was walking all alane, I heard twa corbies making a mane: The tane unto the tither say, 'Where sall we gang and dine the day?'
'In behint yon auld fail dyke I wot there lies a new-slain knight; And naebody kens that he lies there But his hawk, his hound, and his lady fair.
His hound is to the hunting gane, His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame, His lady's ta'en another mate, Sae we may mak' our dinner sweet.
Ye'll sit on his white hause-bane, And I'll pike out his bonny blue e'en: Wi' ae lock o' his gowden hair We'll theek our nest when it grows bare.
Mony a one for him makes mane, But nane sall ken where he is gane: O'er his white banes, when they are bare, The wind sall blaw for evermair.'
'Ruin seize thee, ruthless King! Confusion on thy banners wait! Though fanned by Conquest's crimson wing They mock the air with idle state. Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail, Nor e'en thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail To save thy secret soul from nightly fears, From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears!' Such were the sounds that o'er the crested pride Of the first Edward scattered wild dismay, As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side He wound with toilsome march his long array: Stout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless trance; 'To arms!' cried Mortimer, and couched his quivering lance.
On a rock, whose haughty brow Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood, Robed in the sable garb of woe With haggard eyes the Poet stood (Loose his beard and hoary hair Streamed like a meteor to the troubled air), And with a master's hand and prophet's fire Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre: 'Hark, how each giant oak and desert-cave Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath! O'er thee, O King! their hundred arms they wave, Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe; Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day, To high-born Hoel's harp or soft Llewellyn's lay.