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Thanks for permission to include poems and extracts are due to the following:
Mr. John Lane for Mr. William Watson's 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 Creçy.
Mr. Alfred Austin for The Spotless King.
THE FATHER OF THE FOREST
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,-
Into the dusk of alien things ?
And solemn with exceeding eld,
Wet with tempestuous joy, beheld
The warring faiths, the wavering land,
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,
O'er Chivalry's departed sun?
Belied his madcap youth, and proved
Such as our warrior fathers loved
Glory put by, and sceptred toil.
Like forest branches arch and coil.
That guards Augustine's rugged throne,
Sleeps in his bed of sculptured stone,
Graced an august and sapient head,
O'er Wallace and Llewellyn dead, And eased at last by Solway strand His restless heart and ruthless hand;
Or that disastrous king on whom
Fate, like a tempest, early fell,
The Keep of Pomfret kept full well;
That, starred with idle glory, came
The barren splendour of his fame,
Made mightier whom he overthrew;
75 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 ?- 80 With thrice remoter memories,
And phantoms of the mistier day,
The stars look youthful, thou being by;
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
Scaling our eastern island wall,
95 Their "surf deer', driven o'er wilds of brine. 61. disastrous] ill-starred, unfortunate. 76. thew] strength. 88. Witless] ignorant.
Nay, hid by thee from Summer's gaze
That seeks in vain this couch of loam,
Camped on yon down the hosts of Rome,
Marshalled the legions long ago,
105 '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,
O'er Tigris passed, and with dismay
115 The vultures gathering for a feast, Till, from the quivers of the sky,
The gorgeous star-flight of the East
With ancient echoes, as I lay?
Whose elvish mockeries cheat the day? Surely a hollow murmur stole
125 From wizard bough and ghostly bole: Goodly the loud ostents to thee,
And pomps of Time: to me more sweet
130 And dreams beyond the deadening range And dull monotonies of Change. 126. bole] trunk of a tree.
127. ostents] wonders.