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By his bed a monk was seated,
From the missal on his knee;
And, amid the tempest pealing,
Bells, that from the neighbouring kloster
In the hall the serf and vassal
Held, that night, their Christmas wassail;
Sang the minstrels and the waits;
And so loud these Saxon gleemen
Till at length the lays they chanted
Tears upon his eyelids glistened,
Turned his weary head to hear.
'Wassail for the kingly stranger
And the lightning showed the sainted
18. wassail] health drinking.
In that hour of deep contrition
All the pomp of earth had vanished,
Every vassal of his banner,
Every serf born to his manor,
All those wronged and wretched creatures,
And, as on the sacred missal
And the monk replied, 'Amen!'
Many centuries have been numbered
Mingling with the common dust:
But the good deed, through the ages
H. W. LONGFELLOW.
According to tradition Robin Hood was an outlaw who lived in Sherwood Forest (near Nottingham). He embodied the spirit of rebellion against oppressive feudalism, robbing the rich of the abbey and castle to relieve the necessities of the poor and oppressed. [See Scott's Ivanhoe.]
No! those days are gone away,
No, the bugle sounds no more,
Past the heath and up the hill;
On the fairest time of June
Never one, of all the clan,
Gone, the merry morris din; Gone, the song of Gamelyn; Gone, the tough-belted outlaw Idling in the 'grenè shawe'; All are gone away and past! And if Robin should be cast Sudden from his turfed grave, And if Marian should have Once again her forest days,
He would swear, for all his oaks,
She would weep, and he would craze:
Have rotted on the briny seas;
Fall'n beneath the dockyard strokes,
She would weep that her wild bees
So it is yet let us sing,
Honour to the woods unshorn!
36. shawe] thicket.
Honour to maid Marian,
And to all the Sherwood-clan!
33. morris. An old-fashioned dance in fancy costume, common on May Day and other festivals, in which Robin Hood and his companions were favourite characters.
KING JOHN AND THE POPE
As neither interdict nor excommunication had had any effect in forcing John to recognize Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope Innocent III threatened to depose him, and hand over the crown to Philip II of France, who raised a large army to support his claim. Thereupon, John, unable to depend upon his people to oppose the French, did homage before Pandulph the Pope's representative, and agreed to accept Langton as Archbishop and pay a yearly tribute to Rome for his kingdom.
ACT III, SCENE i.
King Philip. Here comes the holy legate of the
Pandulph. Hail, you anointed deputies of heaven! To thee, King John, my holy errand is.
I Pandulph, of fair Milan cardinal,
And from Pope Innocent the legate here,
Do in his name religiously demand
Why thou against the church, our holy mother,