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ON A ROMAN HELMET
These verses were occasioned by the discovery of a Roman helmet and other remains on the site of the Roman camp near Melrose.
A HELMET of the legion, this,
That long and deep hath lain,
Ah! touch it with a reverent hand,
The tides of sixteen hundred years
While, high above the trumpets pealed,
And, all unseen, the War God's shield
Who marched beneath this gilded helm?
A leader mighty in the realm ?
A soldier of the line?
The proud patrician takes his rest
The spearman's bones beside,
And earth who knows their secret best
With sunlight on this golden crest
Or by the queen of Border streams
And doffed this helm to dry lips' need,
And dipped it in the tide,
And pledged in brimming wine of Tweed
Years pass; and Time keeps tally,
W. H. Ogilvie.
29. Eildon. The Eildon Hills are three conical-shaped hills south of Melrose. On one of the three there are traces of a Roman camp.
33. queen of Border streams. The Tweed.
PAULINUS AND EDWIN
When Ethelburga, daughter of the King of Kent, was married to Edwin of Northumbria, Paulinus, one of Augustine's monks, was sent to attend on her. He converted Edwin, and Christianity was recognized in the North. There are still evidences of Paulinus' work in many parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, as e. g. the Cross at Whalley Church near Blackburn. He is said
to have travelled all over Northumbria in six years, preaching and baptizing.
THE black-hair'd gaunt Paulinus
By ruddy Edwin stood:-
'And worship Christ our Lord!' -But Edwin look'd and ponder'd, And answer'd not a word.
'God offers life immortal
'For his dear Son's own sake!
Wilt thou not hear his message
'Who bears the Keys and Sword?' -But Edwin look'd and ponder'd,
And answer'd not a word.
4. Rood] cross.
Rose then a sage old warrior;
Like one long snow-wreath roll'd:'At Yule-time in our chamber
'We sit in warmth and light, 'While cavern-black around us
'Lies the grim mouth of Night.
'Athwart the room a sparrow
'One red flash,-and no more!
Have somewhat more to tell;
'And where the Soul may dwell:
'If on that outer darkness
'The sun of Hope may shine;'He makes life worth the living! 'I take his God for mine!'
So spake the wise old warrior;
F. T. PALGRAVE.
3. Deira. Northern England.
THE SPOTLESS KING
It has been said that there have been greater warriors, greater statesmen, and greater scholars than Alfred the Great, but that no man ever combined in one person so much excellence in war, legislation, and scholarship (Gardiner).
The poem that follows was written for the Millenary Celebration at Winchester in 1901.
SOME lights there be within the Heavenly Spheres
Star of the spotless fame, from far-off skies
And none are truly great that are not good.
Of valour, virtue, letters, learning, law,
Pattern and prince, His name will now abide, 10 Long as of conscience Rulers live in awe,
And love of country is their only pride.
But with His name four other names attune, Which from oblivion guardian Song may save; Lone Athelney, victorious Ethandune,
Wantage his cradle, Winchester his grave.
15. Athelney. An island amid the marshes of Mid-Somerset, where Alfred took refuge in 878 from Guthrum, King of the Danes. Ethandune. In Wiltshire, where Alfred, after leaving Athelney, defeated Guthrum.