Page images

Is the sable warrior fled?

Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead. The swarm, that in thy noontide beam were


Gone to salute the rising morn.

Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes;

Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm ; Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway, That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening


II, 3.

"Fill high the sparkling bowl, The rich repast prepare,

Reft of a crown, he, yet may share the feast: Close by the regal chair

Fell Thirst and Famine scowl

A baleful smile upon their baffled guest.

Ver. 67. Is the sable warrior fled-Edward the Black Prince, dead some time before his father.

Ver. 71. Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows-Magnificence of Richard the Second's reign. See Froissart, and other contemporary writers.

Ver. 77.-Fill high the sparkling bowl-Richard the Second, as we are told by Archbishop Scroop and the confederate Lords in their manifesto, by Thomas of Walsingham, and all the older writers, was starved to death. The story of his assassination, by Sir Piers of Exton, is of much later date.

Heard ye the din of battle bray

Lance to lance, and horse to horse?

Long years of havoc urge their destined


And through the kindred squadrons mow their


Ye towers of Julius, London's lasting shame, With many a foul and midnight murder fed, Revere his consort's faith, his father's fame, And spare the meek usurper's holy head. Above, below, the rose of snow

Twined with her blushing foe, we spread:

Ver. 83. Heard ye the din of battle bray-Ruinous wars of York and Lancaster.

Ver. 87. Ye towers of Julius, London's lasting shame, -With many a foul and midnight murder fed] Henry the Sixth, George Duke of Clarence, Edward the Fifth, Richard Duke of York, &c. believed to be murdered secretly in the Tower of London. The oldest part of that structure is vulgarly attributed to Julius Cæsar.

Ver. 89. Revere his consort's faith-Margaret of Anjou, a woman of heroic spirit, who struggled hard to save her husband and crown.


-his father's fame-Henry the Fifth. Ver. 90. And spare the meek usurper's holy head→→→ Henry the Sixth, very near being canonized. The line of Lancaster had no right of inheritance to the crown.

Ver. 91. Above, below, the rose of snow-The white and red roses, devices of York and Lancaster.

The bristled boar in infant-gore

Wallows beneath the thorny shade.

Now, brothers, bending o'er the accursed loom, Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom.

III. 1.

"Edward, lo! to sudden fate

(Weave we the woof. The thread is spun)
Half of thy heart we consecrate.
(The web is wove. The work is done)
Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn

Leave me unbless'd, unpitied, here to mourn:
In yon bright track, that fires the western skies,
They melt, they vanish from my eyes.
But oh! what solemn scenes on Snowden's height
Descending slow their glittering skirts unroll?
Visions of glory, spare my aching sight!
Ye unborn ages, crowd not on my soul!

Ver. 93. The bristled boar in infant-gore-The silver boar was the badge of Richard the Third; whence he was usually known in his own time by the name of the Boar.

Ver. 99. Half of thy heart we consecrate-Eleanor of Castile died a few years after the conquest of Wales. The heroic proof she gave of her affection for her lord is well known. The monuments of his regret and sorrow for the loss of her are still to be seen at Northampton, Gaddington, Waltham, and other places.

No more our long-lost Arthur we bewail. All hail, ye genuine kings, Britannia's issue, hail!

III. 2.

"Girt with many a baron bold
Sublime their starry fronts they rear;
And gorgeous dames and statesmen old
In bearded majesty, appear.

In the midst a form divine!

Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-line;
Her lion-port, her awe-commanding face,
Attemper'd sweet to virgin-grace.

Ver. 109. No more our long-lost Arthur we bewail— It was the common belief of the Welsh nation, that King Arthur was still alive in Fairyland, and would, return again to reign over Britain.

Ver. 110. All hail, ye genuine kings, Britannia's issue, hail-Both Merlin and Taliessin had prophesied that the Welsh should regain their sovereignty over this island; which seemed to be accomplished in the house of Tudor.

Ver. 117. Her lion-port, her awe-commanding face -Speed, relating an audience given by Queen Elizabeth to Paul Dzialinski, ambassador of Poland, says,

"And thus she, lion-like rising, daunted the malapert orator no less with her stately port and majestical deporture, than with the tartness of her princelie checkes."

What strings symphonious tremble in the air, What strains of vocal transport round her


Hear from the grave, great Taliessin, hear; They breathe a soul to animate thy clay. Bright Rapture calls, aud, soaring as she sings, Waves in the eye of heaven her many-colour'd wings.

III. 3.

"The verse adorn again

Fierce war, and faithful love,
And truth severe by fairy fiction drest.
In buskin'd measures move
Pale grief, and pleasing pain,

With horror, tyrant of the throbbing breast.
A voice, as of the cherub-choir,
Gales from blooming Eden bear;
And distant warblings lessen on my ear,
That lost in long futurity expire.

Ver. 121. Hear from the grave, great Taliessin, hear-Taliessin, chief of the bar is, flourished in the sixth century. His works are still preserved, and his memory held in high veneration among his countrymen.

Ver. 128. In buskin'd measures move. SHAKSPEARE.

Ver. 131. A voice, as of the cherub-choir-MILTON. Ver. 133. And distant warblings lessen on my ear→ The succession of poets after Milton's time.

« PreviousContinue »