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'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.
Gales from blooming Eden bear,
And distant warblings lessen on my ear That lost in long futurity expire.
Fond impious man, think'st thou yon sanguine cloud 135 Raised by thy breath, has quench'd the orb of day? To-morrow he repairs the golden flood
And warms the nations with redoubled ray.
Enough for me: with joy I see
The different doom our fates assign:
Be thine Despair and sceptred Care;
-He spoke, and headlong from the mountain's height Deep in the roaring tide he plunged to endless night.
A Pindaric Ode, i. e. an ode imitating the form employed by the Greek poet Pindar (died 448 B. C.). See Edmund Gosse's Gray (English Men of Letters Series), ch. vi.
28, 29. Hoel, Llewellyn, Cadwallo. Welsh bards.
49. warp. The threads that go lengthwise; crossing them is the 'woof'.
57. She-wolf of France. Isabella, wife of Edward II.
63. Mighty victor. The Black Prince died in 1377, and Edward III, old and feeble, was at the mercy of intriguers. On his death-bed he was deserted by all, the last person even robbing him of his finger-rings.
71. the Morn. A personification of the beginning of Richard II's reign.
87. towers of Julius. The Tower of London, commonly supposed to have been built by Julius Caesar: the scene of the death of Henry VI ('the meek usurper') and of the murder of the sons of Edward IV by Richard III (whose badge was a boar).
110. genuine kings. The Tudors, who had Welsh blood in their veins.
125. The verse adorn again, &c. An allusion to Spenser, with whom English poetry revived.
128. buskin'd measures. The works of Shakespeare and his fellow playwrights [buskin the high boot-the emblem of Tragedy].
DEATH OF ALEXANDER III
This contemporary cantus shows the consternation produced by the death of Alexander III. His prosperous reign had done as much as his father's to weld Scotland into a strong and civilized nation. His untimely death in 1285 left her exposed to the horrors of a disputed succession and the danger of English usurpation.
WHEN Alysandyr our King was dede
2. lé] law. 7. remede] remedy.
3. sons] plenty.
4. gamyn] sport.
The battle of Bannockburn was the end of Edward I's attempt by force to make Scotland a part of England. Wallace's rebellion had failed, largely because he had not a united Scotland at his back-the nobles had stood aloof; but he had succeeded in rousing Scotland to a sense of nationality of which Robert Bruce took full advantage while Edward II was quarrelling with his barons. Scotland remained a separate nation, with all the advantages and disadvantages of separation, till more settled times proved that union with England would be a source of strength to both countries.
[A plan of the battle will be found in Gardiner's Historical Atlas.]
THE EVE OF BATTLE
THE Monarch rode along the van,
He ranged his soldiers for the fight,
O gay, yet fearful to behold,
And bristled o'er with bills and spears,
Rode England's King and peers:
Though light and wandering was his glance,
The Bruce, my Liege: I know him well.'
THE FIRST BLOW
Of Hereford's high blood he came,
He spurr'd his steed, he couch'd his lance,
As motionless as rocks, that bide
The wrath of the advancing tide,
The Bruce stood fast. Each breast beat high,
The heart had hardly time to think,
His course-but soon his course was o'er!
Springs from the blow the startled horse,
And his deep roar sends challenge wide
To all that bars his way!
In front the gallant archers trode,
When the rough west hath chafed his pride,