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By his bed a monk was seated,
From the missal on his knee;
And, amid the tempest pealing,
Rang for the Nativity.
Sang the minstrels and the waits;
Knocking at the castle-gates.
Whispered at the baron's ear.
Turned his weary head to hear,
Christ is born to set us free!'
And the lightning showed the sainted
18. wassail] health drinking.
In that hour of deep contrition
Justice, the Avenger, rise.
All the pomp of earth had vanished,
And the truth wore no disguise.
Every vassal of his banner,
By his hand were freed again.
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
Unconsumed by moth or rust.
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,
On the fairest time of June
Never one, of all the clan,
Gone, the merry morris din;
So it is: yet let us sing, Honour to the old bow-string! Honour to the bugle-horn! Honour to the woods unshorn! Honour to the Lincoln green! Honour to the archer keen! Honour to tight little John, And the horse he rode upon! Honour to bold Robin Hood, Sleeping in the underwood!
36. shawe) thicket.
Honour to maid Marian,
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
pope. 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,
5 Do in his name religiously demand Why thou against the church, our holy mother, So wilfully dost spurn; and, force perforce, Keep Stephen Langton, chosen Archbishop Of Canterbury, from that holy see?