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So may thy bow's unerring yew
Its shafts in Roderick's heart imbrew."
Amid the pealing symphony
The spiced goblets mantled high ;
With passions new the song impress'd
The listening king's impatient breast :
Flash the keen lightnings from his eyes ;
He scorns awile his bold emprise ;
E'en now he seems, with eager pace,
The consecrated floor to trace,
And ope, from its tremendous gloom,
The treasure of the wondrous tomb :
E'en now he burns in thought to rear,
From its dark bed, the ponderous spear,
Rough with the gore of Pictish kings :
E'en now fond hope his fancy wings,
To poise the monarch's massy blade,
Of magic-temper'd metal made ;
And drag to day the dinted shield
That felt the storm of Camlan's field.
O'er the sepulchre profound
E'en now, with arching sculpture crown'd,
He plans the chauntry's choral shrine,
The daily dirge, and rites divine.
King Richard the First, celebrated for his achievements in the Crusades, was no less distinguished for his patronage of the Provencial minstrels, and his own compositions in their species of poetry. Return. ing from one of his expeditions in the Holy Land, in disguise, he was imprisoned in a castle of Leopold duke of Austria. His favourite minstrel, Blondel de Nesle, having traversed all Germany in search of his master, at length came to a castle, in which he found there was only one prisoner, and whose name was unknown. Suspecting that he had made the desired discovery, he seated himself under a window of the prisoner's apartment; and began a song, or ode, which the King and himself had formerly composed together. When the prisoner, who was King Richard, heard the song, he knew that Blondel must be the singer: and when Blondel paused about the middle, the King began the remainder, and completed it. The following ode is supposed to be this joint composition of the Minstrel and King Richard,
Bound for holy Palestine,
Nimbly we brush'd the level brine,
All in azure steel array’d;
O'er the wave our weapons play'd,
And made the dancing willows glow ;
High upon the trophied prow,
Many a warrior-minstrel swung
His sounding harp, and boldly simg:
Syrian virgins, wail and weep,
English Richard ploughs the deep!
Tremble, watchmen, as ye spy,
From distant towers, with anxious eye,
The radiant range of shield and lance
Down Damascus' hills advance :
From Sion's turrets as afar
Ye ken the march of Europe's war !
Saladin, thou paynim king,
From Albion's isle revenge we bring !
On Acon's spiry citadel,
Though to the gale thy banners swell,
Pictured with the silver moon;
England shall end thy glory soon !
In vain, to break our firm array,
Thy brazen druins hoarse discord bray:
Those sounds our rising fury fan :
English Richard in the van,
On to victory we go,
A vaunting infidel the foe."
Blondel led the tuneful band, And swept the wire with glowing hand. Cyprus, from her rocky mound, And Crete, with piny verdure crown'd, Far along the smiling main Echoed the prophetic strain.
Soon we kiss'd the sacred earth That gave a murder'd Saviour birth; Then, with ardour fresh endu'd, Thus the solemn song renew'd.
“ Lo, the toilsome voyage past, Heaven's favour'd hills appear at last ! Object of our holy vow, We tread the Tyrian valleys now. From Carmel's almond-shaded steep We feel the cheering fragrance creep O’er Engaddi's shrubs of balm Waves the date-empurpled palm, See Lebanon's aspiring head Wide his immortal umbrage spread I Hail Calvary, thou mountain hoar, Wet with our Redeemer's gore !
Ye trampled tombs, ye fanes forlorn,
Ye stones, by tears of pilgrims worn ;
Your ravish'd honours to restore,
Fearless we climb this hostile shore !
And thou, the sepulchre of God!
By mocking pagans rudely trou,
Bereft of every awful rite,
And quench'd thy lamps that beam'd so bright;
For thee, from Britain's distant coast,
Lo, Richard leads his faithful host !
Aloft in his heroic hand,
Blazing, like the beacon's brand,
O'er the far-affrighted fields,
Resistless Kaliburn he wields.
Proud Saracen, pollute no more
The shrines by martyrs built of yore!
From each wild mountain's trackless crown
In vain thy gloomy castles frown:
Thy battering engines, huge and high,
In vain our steel-clad steeds defy;
And, rolling in terrific state,
On giant-wheels harsh thunders rate.
When eve has hush'd the buzzing camp,
Amid the moon-light vapours damp,
Thy necromantic forms, in vain,
Haunt us on the tented plain :
We bid those spectre-shapes avaunt,
Ashtaroth, and Termagaunt !
With many a demon, pale of hue,
Doom'd to drink the bitter dew
That drops from Macon's sooty tree,
Mid the dread grove of ebony.
Nor magic charms, nor fiends of hell,
The christian's holy courage quell.
“ Salem, in ancient majesty
Arise, and lift thee to the sky!
Soon on thy battlements divine
Shall wave the badge of Constantine.
Ye Barons, to the sun unfold
Our Cross with crimson wove and gold !"
Ye midnight Shades ! o'er Nature spread
Dumb silence of the dreary hour ;
In honour of th' approaching dead
Around your awful terrors pour.
Yes. pour around
On this pale ground,
Thro' all this deep surrounding gloom,
The sober thought,
The tear untaught,
Those meetest mourners at a tomh.
Lo! as the surplic'd train draw near
To this last mansion of mankind,
The slow sad bell, the sable bier,
In holy musings wrapt the mind !
And while their beam,
With trembling stream,
Attending tapers faintly dart,
Each mould'ring bone,
Each sculptur'd stone,
Strikes mute instruction to the heart.
Now let the sacred organ blow
With solemn pause and sounding slow;
Now let the voice due measure keep,
In strains that sigh and words that weep,
Till all the vocal current blended roll,
Not to depress but lift the soaring soul.
To lift it in the Maker's praise
Who first inform'd our frame with breath,
And after some few stormy days
Now gracious gives us o'er to death.
No king of fears
In him appears
Who shuts the scene of human woes ;
Beneath his shade
The dead alone find true repose.
Then while we mingle dust with dust,
To One supremely good and wise
Raise hallelujahs. God is just,
And man most happy when he dies.
His winter past,
Fair Spring at last
Receives him on her flow'ry shore,
Where pleasure's rose
And sin and sorrow are no more.