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Each stepping where his comrade stood,
The instant that he fell.
No thought was there of dastard flight;
Link'd in the serried phalanx tight,
Groom fought like noble, squire like knight,
As fearlessly and well;
Till utter darkness closed her wing
O'er their thin host and wounded King.
Then skilful Surrey's sage commands
Led back from strife his shatter'd bands;
And from the charge they drew,
As mountain-waves, from wasted lands,
Sweep back to ocean blue.
Then did their loss his foemen know;
Their King, their Lords, their mightiest low, They melted from the field as snow,
To town and tower, to down and dale,
To tell red Flodden's dismal tale,
And raise the universal wail.
Tradition, legend, tune, and song,
Shall many an age that wail prolong:
Still from the sire the son shall hear
Of the stern strife, and carnage drear,
Of Flodden's fatal field,
Where shiver'd was fair Scotland's spear,
And broken was her shield!
SIR W. SCOTT (from Marmion).
THE FLOWERS OF THE FOREST
[See Introduction to 'Flodden '.]
I'VE heard them lilting at our ewe-milking,
Lasses a' lilting before dawn o' day;
But now they are moaning on ilka green loaning—
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away.
At bughts, in the morning, nae blythe lads are scorning,
Lasses are lonely and dowie and wae;
Nae daffing, nae gabbing, but sighing and sabbing, Ilk ane lifts her leglin and hies her away.
In har'st, at the shearing, nae youths now are jeering,
Bandsters are lyart, and runkled, and gray:
At fair or at preaching, nae wooing, nae fleeching—
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away.
Dool and wae for the order sent our lads to the
The English, for ance, by guile wan the day; The Flowers of the Forest, that fought aye the foremost, The prime of our land, lie cauld in the clay. 16
We'll hear nae mair lilting at our ewe-milking;
Women and bairns are heartless and wae;
Sighing and moaning on ilka green loaning-
The Flowers of the Forest are a' wede away. 20
4. the Forest. Ettrick Forest in the south of Scotland.
Wolsey's fall was the penalty exacted by Henry VIII for the failure of the negotiations with the Pope to obtain leave for the divorce of Catherine of Aragon. Wolsey had done his best to procure this, though he had favoured a remarriage with a French princess-to strengthen the alliance with France-rather than with Anne Boleyn. But he was hated both by the nobles and the people, and Henry was glad to gain a fresh spell of popularity by throwing him over. He was dismissed from the chancellorship, and his property seized. He still remained Archbishop of York, but when he began to intrigue for a return to power, he was arrested on a charge of treason, and on his journey to London fell ill and died at Leicester.
The following scene represents his reception of the news of his dismissal as Chancellor. Cromwell, whom he addreses, was in his employment; he afterwards passed into the service of the King, and carried through the dissolution of the monasteries, but himself fell from favour in 1540 on the failure of his German policy, and was executed on an act of attainder.
Wolsey. Farewell! a long farewell, to all my greatness!
This is the state of man; to-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hopes; to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost;
And, when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventur'd,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory,
But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
At length broke under me, and now has left me,
Weary and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye: 15
I feel my heart new open'd. O! how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favours!
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
More pangs and fears than wars or women have:
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.
Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries; but thou hast forc'd me,
Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman.
Let's dry our eyes: and thus far hear me, Cromwell;
And, when I am forgotten, as I shall be,
And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention
Of me more must be heard of, say, I taught thee,
Say, Wolsey, that once trod the ways of glory, 30
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour,
Found thee a way, out of his wrack, to rise in;
A sure and safe one, though thy master miss'd it.
Mark but my fall, and that that ruin'd me.
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition:
By that sin fell the angels; how can man then,
The image of his Maker, hope to win by 't?
Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee;
Corruption wins not more than honesty.
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues: be just, and fear not.
Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's,
Thy God's, and truth's; then if thou fall'st, O
Thou fall'st a blessed martyr. Serve the King;
And, prithee, lead me in:
There take an inventory of all I have,
To the last penny; 'tis the King's: my robe
And my integrity to heaven is all
I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, Cromwell!
Had I but serv'd my God with half the zeal
I serv'd my King, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.
W. SHAKESPEARE (from Henry VIII).
IN full-blown dignity, see Wolsey stand,
Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand :
To him the church, the realm, their pow'rs consign,
Thro' him the rays of regal bounty shine,
Turn'd by his nod the stream of honour flows,
His smile alone security bestows.
Still to new heights his restless wishes tow'r,
Claim leads to claim, and pow'r advances pow'r:
Till conquest unresisted ceas'd to please,
And rights submitted left him none to seize.
At length his sov'reign frowns-the train of state
Mark the keen glance, and watch the sign to hate.
Where'er he turns, he meets a stranger's eye,
His suppliants scorn him, and his followers fly:
Now drops at once the pride of awful state,
The golden canopy, the glitt'ring plate,
The regal palace, the luxurious board,
The liv'ried army, and the menial lord.
With age, with cares, with maladies oppress'd,
He seeks the refuge of monastic rest;
Grief aids disease, remember'd folly stings,
And his last sighs reproach the faith of kings.
Speak thou whose thoughts at humble peace repine,
Shall Wolsey's wealth, with Wolsey's end, be thine?
Or liv'st thou now, with safer pride content,
The wisest justice on the banks of Trent?
For why did Wolsey, near the steeps of fate,
On weak foundations raise th' enormous weight?
Why, but to sink beneath misfortune's blow,
With louder ruin to the gulfs below?
S. JOHNSON (from The Vanity of Human Wishes).
26. The wisest justice, &c., i. e. Justice of the Peace; possibly Dr. Taylor, an early friend of Johnson's, and Squire of Ashbourne.