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With his white hair unbonneted, the stout old sheriff
comes; Behind him march the halberdiers; before him sound
the drums; His yeomen round the market cross make clear an
ample space; For there behoves him to set up the standard of
And haughtily the trumpets peal and gaily dance
the bells, As slow upon the labouring wind the royal blazon
swells. Look how the Lion of the sea lifts up his ancient
crown, And underneath his deadly paw treads the gay lilies
down. So stalked he when he turned to flight, on that famed
Picard field, Bohemia's plume, and Genoa's bow, and Caesar's
eagle shield. So glared he when at Agincourt in wrath he turned
to bay, And crushed and torn beneath his claws the princely
Ho! strike the flagstaff deep, Sir Knight: ho!
scatter flowers, fair maids : Ho! gunners, fire a loud salute: ho! gallants, draw Thou sun, shine on her joyously; ye breezes, waft
her wide; Our glorious SEMPER EADEM, the banner of our pride.
30 The freshening breeze of eve unfurled that banner's
massy fold; The parting gleam of sunshine kissed that haughty scroll of gold;
Night sank upon the dusky beach, and on the
purple sea, Such night in England ne'er had been, nor e'er
again shall be. From Eddystone to Berwick bounds, from Lynn to
Milford Bay, That time of slumber was as bright and busy as the
day; For swift to east and swift to west the ghastly war
flame spread, High on St. Michael's Mount it shone; it shone on
Beachy Head. Far on the deep the Spaniards saw, along each
southern shire, Cape beyond cape, in endless range, those twinkling
points of fire. The fisher left his skiff to rock on Tamar's glittering
waves : The rugged miners poured to war from Mendip's
sunless caves : O'er Longleat's towers, o'er Cranbourne's oaks, the
fiery herald flew : He roused the shepherds of Stonehenge, the rangers
Right sharp and quick the bells all night rang out from Bristol town,
45 And ere the day three hundred horse had met on
Clifton Down; The sentinel on Whitehall gate looked forth into the
night, And saw o'erhanging Richmond Hill the streak of
blood-red light; Then bugle's note and cannon's roar the death-like
silence broke, And with one start and with one cry, the royal city woke.
50 At once on all her stately gates arose the answering
At once the wild alarum clashed from all her reeling
spires; From all the batteries of the Tower pealed loud the
voice of fear; And all the thousand masts of Thames sent back a
louder cheer ; And from the furthest wards was heard the rush of hurrying feet,
55 And the broad streams of pikes and flags rushed down
each roaring street ; And broader still became the blaze, and louder still
the din, As fast from every village round the horse came
spurring in : And eastward straight from wild Blackheath the
warlike errand went, And roused in many an ancient hall the gallant squires of Kent.
60 Southward from Surrey's pleasant hills flew those
bright couriers forth; High on bleak Hampstead's swarthy moor they
started for the north; And on, and on, without a pause, untired they
bounded still : All night from tower to tower they sprang: they
sprang from hill to hill : Till the proud Peak unfurled the flag o'er Darwin's rocky dales,
65 Till like volcanoes flared to heaven the stormy
hills of Wales. Till twelve fair counties saw the blaze on Malvern's
lonely height, Till streamed in crimson on the wind the Wrekin's
crest of light, Till broad and fierce the star came forth on Ely's
stately fane, And tower and hamlet rose in arms o'er all the boundless plain;
70 Till Belvoir's lordly terraces the sign to Lincoln sent,
And Lincoln sped the message on o'er the wide vale
of Trent; Till Skiddaw saw the fire that burned on Gaunt's
embattled pile, And the red glare on Skiddaw roused the burghers of Carlisle.
16. halberdiers. A halberd was a weapon shaped so as to serve both as axe and spear.
22. The gay lilies. The flag of France. 23. Picard field. Crecy (1346) in Picardy. 24. Bohemia's plume. (Cf. Creçy, p. 63 (i), l. 45.) The King of Bohemia's crest was three feathers (afterwards adopted by the Prince of Wales).
Genoa's bow. See note to Creçy, p. 63 (1), l. 43.
Caesar's eagle shield. Charles, the son of the King of Bohemia, was also King of the Romans. The princes who bore this title, might-as did Charlemagne and his successorsregard themselves as heirs to the Roman Emperors, all of whom used to adopt the name of Caesar. The eagle was the military symbol of Rome.
30. SEMPER EADEM] · Always the same'-Elizabeth's motto. 41. Tamar's. Devon's. Tamar is a river in Devonshire. 42. Mendip's sunless caves. The mines in Somersetshire. 43. Longleat. In Wiltshire. 43-4. Cranbourne, Beaulieu. Near the New Forest. 65. Darwin. The Derwent in Derbyshire. 68. the Wrekin. A hill in Shropshire.
71. Belvoir. The Duke of Rutland's house on the borders of Lincolnshire.
73. Gaunt's embattled pile. Lancaster Castle.
THE END OF THE ARMADA
And astonished, the vast fleet veers;
But the moonless midnight hears
flames that the darkness fears.
Heart-stricken till morning break,
Drives down on them England's Drake, And hurls them in as they hurtle and spin and
stagger, with storm to wake.
Fierce noon beats hard on the battle; the galleons
that loom to the lee Bow down, heel over, uplifting their shelterless hulls
from the sea; From scuppers aspirt with blood, from guns dis
mounted and dumb, The signs of the doom they looked for, the loud
mute witnesses come. They press with sunset to seaward for comfort :
and shall not they find it there? O servants of God most high, shall his winds not
pass you by, and his waves not spare ? The wings of the south-westwind are widened ;
the breath of his fervent lips, More keen than a sword's edge, fiercer than fire, falls
full on the plunging ships. The pilot is he of their northward flight, their stay and their steersman he; 51