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HE way was long, the wind was cold,
The minstrel was infirm and old;
His wither'd cheek and tresses grey
Seem'd to have known a better day;
The harp, his sole remaining joy,
Was carried by an orphan boy;
The last of all the bards was he,
Who sung of border chivalry;
For, welladay! their date was fled,
His tuneful brethren all were dead;
And he, neglected and oppress'd,
Wish'd to be with them, and at rest.
No more on prancing palfrey borne,
He caroll'd light as lark at morn ;
No longer courted and caress'd,
High placed in hall, a welcome guest,
He poured, to lord and lady gay,
The unpremeditated lay:
Old times were changed, old manners gone;
A stranger filled the Stuarts' throne;
The bigots of the iron time.
Had called his harmless art a crime.
A wandering harper, scorn'd and poor,
He begg'd his bread from door to door.
And tuned, to please a peasant's ear,
The harp a king had loved to hear.
Hard by the house of prayer, a modest roof,
And not distinguish'd from its neighbour barn,
Save by a slender tapering length of spire,
The grandame sleeps. A plain stone barely tells
The name and date to the chance passenger.
For lowly born was she, and long had eat,
Well earn'd, the bread of service; hers was else
A mounting spirit, one that entertain'd
Scorn of base action, deed dishonourable,
Or aught unseemly. I remember well
Her reverend image: I remember, too,
With what a zeal she served her master's house;
And how the prattling tongue of garrulous age
Delighted to recount the oft-told tale
Or anecdote domestic. Wise she was,
And wondrous skill'd in genealogies,
And could in apt and voluble terms discourse
Of births, of titles, and alliances;
Of marriages, and intermarriages;
Relationship remote, or near of kin ;
Of friends offended, family disgraced—
Maiden high-born, but wayward, disobeying
Parental strict injunction, and regardless
Of unmix'd blood, and ancestry remote,
Stooping to wed with one of low degree.
But these are not thy praises; and I wrong
Thy honour'd memory, recording chiefly
Things light or trivial. Better 'twere to tell
How, with a nobler zeal, and warmer love,
She served her heavenly Master. I have seen
That reverend form bent down with age and pain,
And rankling malady. Yet not for this
Ceased she to praise her Maker, or withdrew
Her trust in Him, her faith and humble hope-
So meekly had she learn'd to bear her cross-
For she had studied patience in the school
Of Christ, much comfort she had thence derived,
And was a follower of the Nazarene.
TTEND, all ye who list to hear our noble England's
I sing of the thrice famous deeds she wrought in ancient days,
When that great fleet invincible, against her
The richest spoils of Mexico, the stoutest
It was about the lovely close of a warm summer's day,
There came a gallant merchant ship, full sail to Plymouth
The crew had seen Castile's black fleet, beyond Aurigny's
At earliest twilight, on the waves, lie heaving many a mile.
At sunrise she escaped their van, by God's especial grace;
And the tall Pinta, till the noon, had held her close in chase.
Forthwith a guard, at every gun, was placed along the wall,
The beacon blazed upon the roof of Edgecombe's lofty hall;
Many a light fishing bark put out, to pry along the coast;
And with loose rein, and bloody spur, rode inland many a post.
With his white hair unbonneted, the stout old sheriff comes;
Behind him march the halberdiers, before him sound the drums.
The yeomen, round the market cross, make clear an ample space,
For there behoves him to set up the standard of her Grace:
And haughtily the trumpets peal, and gaily dance the bells,
As slow, upon the labouring wind, the royal blazon swells.
Look how the lion of the sea lifts up his ancient crown,
And underneath his deadly paw treads the gay lilies down!
So stalk'd he when he turn'd to fight, on that famed Picard field,
Bohemia's plume, and Genoa's bow, and Cæsar's eagle shield:
So glared he when, at Agincourt, in wrath he turn'd to bay,
And crush'd and torn beneath his claws, the princely hunters lay.
Ho! strike the flagstaff deep, sir knight! ho! scatter flowers, fair
Ho, gunners! fire a loud salute! ho, gallants! draw your blades!
Thou, sun, shine on her joyously! ye breezes, waft her wide!
Our glorious semper eadem! the banner of our pride!
The fresh'ning breeze of eve unfurl'd that banner's massy fold-
The parting gleam of sunshine kiss'd that haughty scroll of gold.
Night sunk upon the dusky beach, and on the purple sea;
Such night in England ne'er had been, nor e'er again shall be.
From Eddystone to Berwick bounds, from Lynn to Milford bay,
That time of slumber was as bright, as busy as the day;
For swift to east, and swift to west, the warning radiance spread—
High on St. Michael's Mount it shone-it shone on Beachy Head.
Far o'er the deep, the Spaniard saw, along each southern shire,
Cape beyond cape, in endless range, those twinkling points of
The fisher left his skiff to rock on Tamar's glittering waves,
The rugged miners pour'd to war, from Mendip's sunless caves; O'er Longleat's towers, o'er Cranbourne's oaks, the fiery herald
He roused the shepherds of Stonehenge-the rangers of Beaulieu. Right sharp and quick the bells rang out, all night, from Bristol
And, ere the day, three hundred horse had met on Clifton Down.
The sentinel on Whitehall gate looked forth into the night,
And saw, o'erhanging Richmond Hill, that streak of blood-red light.
The bugle's note, and cannon's roar, the deathlike silence broke,
And with one start, and with one cry, the royal city woke ;
At once, on all her stately gates, arose the answering fires;
At once the wild alarum clash'd from all her reeling spires;