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HAROLD AND TOSTIG
While King Harold was watching for the landing of the Duke of Normandy, he learned that his own brother Tostig, aided by the Norse rover Harold Hardrada, had invaded Northumbria, from the earldom of which King Harold had deposed him. Harold, feeling that both duty and honour compelled him to drive the invaders out of England, marched his army north and defeated the enemy at Stamford Bridge on the Derwent, where both Hardrada and Tostig were slain.
[See Lytton's Harold, Book XI, Ch. 11.)
FORTH from England's ranks a score of horsemen Ride, their chargers mailed, and mailed their riders. Near the Northmen's steel array up-reining,
Where is Tostig ?' shouts their kingly leader. 'I am he,' quick answer makes the fierce Earl.
5 "To thee sends thy brother Harold greeting. Thine shall be again Northumbria's earldom; Thou, his man, shalt rule with him his kingdom.'
Friendship had ye proffered then, full surely,
Seven feet of English earth shall his be;
Grimly laugh around the mailèd horsemen,
That, with Sigurd's son, I, warring westward,
DEATH OF HAROLD HARDRADA
LIKE the tall mast snapped before the storm-wind
Round him fight and fall the heaped-up corpse-ring, Scorning Harold's proffered peace and mercy.
Falls fierce Tostig, grimly as the bear falls,
*Plight your troth, no more your ocean riders, Viking-filled, shall come with fire and slaughter.
21. boune) prepare.
So bear hence your kingly dead, O Olaf,
The Curfew (couvre-feu) was a bell rung at 8 o'clock in winter and at sunset in summer, when all fires had to be extinguished. It also served as a call to prayers, and is still rung in some towns. The curfew law was instituted by William the Conqueror, to prevent sedition by keeping Englishmen within their houses after nightfall.
No voice in the chambers,
No sound in the hall !
Reign over all !
H. W. LONGFELLOW.
THE RED KING
The death of William Rufus in the New Forest might be regarded as a Nemesis or poetic justice, not only on him for his cruelty in that district, but also on his father who had ruthlessly destroyed villages to make a hunting-ground there. It is not known for certain whether Rufus was killed by accident or design; probably the latter. His body was carried to Winchester Cathedral and unceremoniously buried under the tower, which fell a few years afterwards, “because so foul a body lay beneath it'.
The King was drinking in Malwood Hall,
7. sweven) dream.
And for this thy forest were digged down all,
The Red King down from Malwood came;
35 Or whether by treason, men knowen not, But under the arm, in a secret part, The iron fled through the Kingès heart. The turf it squelched where the Red King fell: And the fiends they carried his soul to hell, Quod, 'His master's name it hath sped him well.'
Tyrrel he smiled full grim that day,
17. Steading) farm-house.
49. clepen) call.