Thanks for permission to include poems and extracts are due to the following:

Mr. William Watson and Mr. John Lane for The Father of the Forest.

Mr. W. H. Ogilvie for Ode on a Roman Helmet, from 'The Land we love', published by Fraser, Asher & Co., Ltd., Glasgow and Dalbeattie.

Rev. F. M. Temple Palgrave for F. T. Palgrave's Paulinus and Edwin, and Crecy.

Mr. Alfred Austin for The Spotless King.

Ellis for an extract from D. G. Rossetti's The White Ship.



For prologue to our book we have chosen this majestic vision of one of the noblest of living poets, wherein 'as from a tower' we gaze down that long vista of English history which these pages seek to illuminate.

OLD emperor Yew, fantastic sire,

Girt with thy guard of dotard kings,What ages hast thou seen retire

Into the dusk of alien things?

What mighty news hath stormed thy shade,
Of armies perished, realms unmade?

Already wast thou great and wise,
And solemn with exceeding eld,

On that proud morn when England's eyes,
Wet with tempestuous joy, beheld
Round her rough coasts the thundering main
Strewn with the ruined dream of Spain.

Hardly thou count'st them long ago,

The warring faiths, the wavering land, The sanguine sky's delirious glow,

And Cranmer's scorched, uplifted hand.
Wailed not the woods their task of shame,
Doomed to provide the insensate flame?

Mourned not the rumouring winds, when she,
The sweet queen of a tragic hour,
Crowned with her snow-white_memory
The crimson legend of the Tower?
Or when a thousand witcheries lay
Felled with one stroke, at Fotheringay?





Ah, thou hast heard the iron tread

And clang of many an armoured age,
And well recall'st the famous dead,

Captains or counsellors brave or sage,
Kings that on kings their myriads hurled,
Ladies whose smile embroiled the world.
Rememberest thou the perfect knight,
The soldier, courtier, bard in one,
Sidney, that pensive Hesper-light
O'er Chivalry's departed sun?

Knew'st thou the virtue, sweetness, lore,
Whose nobly hapless name was More?

The roystering prince, that afterward
Belied his madcap youth, and proved
A greatly simple warrior lord

Such as our warrior fathers loved-
Lives he not still? for Shakespeare sings
The last of our adventurer kings.

His battles o'er, he takes his ease,
Glory put by, and sceptred toil.
Round him the carven centuries

Like forest branches arch and coil.
In that dim fane, he is not sure
Who lost or won at Azincour!

Roofed by the mother minster vast
That guards Augustine's rugged throne,
The darling of a knightly Past

Sleeps in his bed of sculptured stone,
And flings, o'er many a warlike tale,
The shadow of his dusky mail.

The monarch who, albeit his crown
Graced an august and sapient head,
Rode roughshod to a stained renown

O'er Wallace and Llewellyn dead,
And eased at last by Solway strand
His restless heart and ruthless hand;

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Or that disastrous king on whom
Fate, like a tempest, early fell,
And the dark secret of whose doom

The Keep of Pomfret kept full well;
Or him whose lightly leaping words
On Becket drew the dastard swords;
Or Eleanor's undaunted son,

That, starred with idle glory, came
Bearing from leagured Ascalon

The barren splendour of his fame,
And, vanquished by an unknown bow,
Lies vainly great at Fontevraud;
Or him, the footprints of whose power
Made mightier whom he overthrew ;
A man built like a mountain-tower,
A fortress of heroic thew;

The Conqueror, in our soil who set
This stem of Kinghood flowering yet;—
These, or the living fame of these,

Perhaps thou minglest-who shall say?—
With thrice remoter memories,

And phantoms of the mistier day,
Long ere the tanner's daughter's son
From Harold's hands this realm had won.

What years are thine, not mine to guess!
The stars look youthful, thou being by;
Youthful the sun's glad-heartedness;

Witless of time the unageing sky!
And these dim-groping roots around
So deep a human Past are wound,
That, musing in thy shade, for me
The tidings scarce would strangely fall

Of fair-haired despots of the sea
Scaling our eastern island wall,

From their long ships of norland pine,

Their surf deer', driven o'er wilds of brine.

61. disastrous] ill-starred, unfortunate.

88. Witless] ignorant.








76. thew] strength.

Nay, hid by thee from Summer's gaze
That seeks in vain this couch of loam,
I should behold, without amaze,

Camped on yon down the hosts of Rome, 100
Nor start though English woodlands heard
The self-same mandatory word

As by the Cataracts of the Nile
Marshalled the legions long ago,

Or where the lakes are one blue smile
'Neath pageants of Helvetian snow,
Or 'mid the Syrian sands that lie
Sick of the day's great tearless eye,
Or on barbaric plains afar,

Where, under Asia's fevering ray,
The long lines of imperial war

O'er Tigris passed, and with dismay
In fanged and iron deserts found
Embattled Persia closing round,

And 'mid their eagles watched on high
The vultures gathering for a feast,
Till, from the quivers of the sky,

The gorgeous star-flight of the East

Flamed, and the bow of darkness bent
O'er Julian dying in his tent.

With ancient echoes, as I lay?





Was it the wind befooling me

Was it the antic fantasy

Whose elvish mockeries cheat the day? Surely a hollow murmur stole


From wizard bough and ghostly bole:

Goodly the loud ostents to thee,

And pomps of Time: to me more sweet The vigils of Eternity,

And Silence patient at my feet;

And dreams beyond the deadening range
And dull monotonies of Change.

126. bole] trunk of a tree.


127. ostents] wonders.

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