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With orient hues unborrow'd of the sun :
Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate, Beneath the Good how far-but far above the
A PINDARIC ODE.
This Ode is founded on a tradition current in Wales, that Edward the First, when he completed the conquest of that country, ordered all the Bards that fell into his hands to be put to death.
"RUIN seize thee, ruthless king!
Nor e'en thy virtues, Tyrant, shall avail
Ver. 5. Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail] The hauberk was a texture of steel ringlets, or rings interwoven, forming a coat of mail that sat close to the vody, and adapted itself to every motion.
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 couch'd his quivering lance.
Ver. 11. -of Snowdon's shaggy side] Snowdon was a name given by the Saxons to that mountainous tract it included all the highlands of Caernarvonshire and Merionethshire, as far east as the river Conway.
Ver. 13. Stout Glo'ster] Gilbert de Clare, surnamed the Red, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford; married at Westminster, May 2, 1290, to Joan de Acres or Acon (so called from having been born at Acon in the Holy Land), second daughter of King Edward. He died 1295.
Ver. 14. "To arms!” cried Mortimer] Edmond de Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore.
They both were Lord Marchers, whose lands lay on the borders of Wales, and probably accompanied the king in this expedition.
Ver. 19. Loose his beard and hoary hair] The
And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire,
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.
"Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topp'd head.
On dreary Arvon's shore they lie, Smear'd with gore, and ghastly pale: Far, far aloof th' affrighted ravens sail; The famish'd eagle screams, and passes by.
image was taken from a well-known picture by Raphael, representing the Supreme Being in the vision of Ezekiel.
Ver. 35. On dreary Arvon's shore they lie] The shores of Caernarvonshire, opposite to the Isle of Anglesey.
Ver. 38. The famish'd eagle screams, and passes by] Camden and others observe, that eagles used annu
Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes, Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart, Ye died amidst your dying country's criesNo more I weep. They do not sleep. On yonder cliffs, a grisly band, I see them sit, they linger yet, Avengers of their native land: With me in dreadful harmony they join, And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.
"Weave the warp, and weave the woof, The winding-sheet of Edward's race.
Give ample room, and verge enough
ally to build their aerie among the rocks of Snowdon, which from thence (as some think) were named by the Welsh Craiganeryri, or the crags of the eagles. At this day the highest point of Snowdon is called the Eagle's Nest. That bird is certainly no stranger to this island, as the Scots, and the people of Cumberland, Westmoreland, &c. can testify: it even has built its nest in the Peak of Derbyshire. (See Willoughby's Ornithology, published by Ray.)
Ver. 48. And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line] See the Norwegian Ode (the Fatal Sisters) that follows.
The shrieks of death, through Berkley's roof that ring,
Shrieks of an agonizing king!
She-wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs, That tear'st the bowels of thy mangled mate, From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs
The scourge of Heaven. What terrors round him wait!
Amazement in his van, with Flight combined, And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind.
'Mighty victor, mighty lord! Low on his funeral couch he lies! No pitying heart, no eye afford A tear to grace his obsequies.
Ver. 55. The shrieks of death, through Berkley's roof that ring] Edward the Second, cruelly butchered in Berkley Castle.
Ver. 57. She-wolf of France] Isabel of France, Edward the Second's adulterous queen.
Ver. 60. The scourge of Heaven-Triumphs of Edward the Third in France.
Ver. 64. Low on his funeral couch he lies-Death of that king, abandoned by his children, and even robbed in his last moments by his courtiers and his mistress.