Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

breathed his last in the fifty-sixth year of his age: his funeral was celebrated with splendid solemnity by the English, and honoured by the attendance of his rival, Edward; and his corpse was afterwards conveyed to France, and interred with those of his predecessors, in the abbey of St. Denis.” History of France.

“In mine own land the sun shines bright,

The morning breeze blows fair ;
I must not look upon that light,

I must not feel that air.
The chain is heavy on my heart,

Although my limbs are free:
A bitter, bitter loss thou art,

O precious liberty!”
It was King John lamented thus,

With many a mournful word;
But gentle, kind, and chivalrous,

Was the heart of him who heard :
The Black Prince came - he loved to bring

Comfort and sweet' relief,
So he spake softly to the king,

And strove to soothe his grief.
6 Now cheer thee, noble friend !” he said ;

Right bravely didst thou fight;
Thine honour is untarnished:

Thou art a stainless knight.
That man should ne’er desponding be

Who winneth fame in strife :
'Tis a better thing than liberty,

A better thing than life.
“I grant thee one full year,” he said ;

“For a year thou shalt be free:
Go back to France, and there persuade

Thy lords to ransom thee.
But if thy ransom they refuse,

And do not heed thy pain,
Our realm must not its captive lose

Thou must return again.
“So pledge me now thy royal word,

And pledge it solemnly,
That thou, the captive of my sword,

Wilt faithful be to me.”

The king he pledged his royal faith

He pledged it gladsomely:
He promised to be true till death :

Of joyous heart was he.
Then did these generous foes embrace

Closely as brethren might, –
Farewell

, and God be with your grace!” “Farewell, thou peerless knight!" The wind was fair, the sea was blue,

The sky without a speck, When the good ship o'er the waters flew,

With King John upon its deck. With eager hope his heart beat high

When he sprang on his own dear shore ; But sad and downcast was his eye

Ere one brief month was o'er.
Glad were the lords of lovely France

When they beheld their king;
But, oh! how alter'd was their glance,

When he spoke of ransoming!
They told of wasted revenues,

Of fortunes waxing low;
And when their words did not refuse,
Their looks said plainly,

“ No.”
Sore
grew

the heart of that good king, As closed the winter drear And when the rose proclaim'd the spring,

He hail'd it with a tear.
For the year was gliding fast away,

And gold he could not gain,
And honour summon'd him to pay

His freedom back again.
And now the summer-noon is bright,

The warm breeze woos the scent
From thousand roses red and white

The year is fully spent! “Paris, farewell, thou stately town!

Farewell, my woods and plains ! Farewell, my kingdom and my crown!

And welcome, English chains!

[ocr errors]

Trim, trim the bark, and hoist the sail,

And bid my train advance,
I have found that loyal faith may fail

I leave thee, thankless France.”
These bitter words spake good King John;

But his liegemen counsel gave : “ What recks it that the year

is gone? There yet is time to save. Thou standest yet on thine own good land,

Forget thy plighted word, Remain ! and to thy foe's demand

We'll answer with the sword.” But the good King John spake firm and bold;

And oh! his words should be Graven in characters of gold

On each heart's memory :
“ Were truth disown'd by all mankind,

A scorn'd and banish'd thing,
A resting-place it still should find

In the breast of every king.”
Again the good ship cleaves the sea

Before a favouring air,
But it beareth to captivity,

And not to freedom fair.
Yet when King John set foot on land,

Sad he could scarcely be,
For the Black Prince took him by the hand,

And welcomed him courteously.
To Savoy Castle 1 he was brought,

With fair and royal state;
Full many a squire, in rich attire,

Did on his pleasure wait.
They did not as a prisoner hold

That noble king and true,
But as dear guest, whose high behest

'Twas honour and joy to do. Of treaty and of ransom then

The prince and he had speech; Like friends and fellow-countrymen, Great was the love of each ;

Savoy Castle, in London.

No angry thought -- no gesture proud,

Not a hasty word they spoke,
But a brotherhood of heart they vow'd,

And its bond they never broke.
In Savoy Castle died King John.

They buried him royally:
And grief through all the land is gone

That such a knight should die.
And the prince was wont to say this thing,

Whene'er his name was spoken, -
“ He was a warrior, and a king
Whose word was never broken.”

Lays and Ballads from English History.

[blocks in formation]

Emblem of eternity,
Unbeginning, endless sea!
Let me launch my soul on thee.

Sail, nor keel, nor helm, nor oar,
Need I, ask I, to explore

Thine expanse from shore to shore.
Eager fancy, unconfined
In a voyage of the mind,
Sweeps along thee like the wind,

Where the billows cease to roll,
Round the silence of the pole,

Thence set out, my venturous soul!
See, by Greenland cold and wild,
Rocks of ice eternal piled ;
Yet the mother loves her child.

Next on lonely Labrador,
Let me hear the snow-falls roar,

Devastating all before.
But a brighter vision breaks
O'er Canadian woods and lakes;

· These my spirit soon forsakes,
Land of exiled liberty,
Where our fathers once were free,

Brave New England, hail to thee!
Pennsylvania ?, while thy flood
Waters fields unbought with blood,
Stand for peace as thou hast stood.

The West Indies I behold,
Like the Hesperides 3 of old,

Trees of life, with fruits of gold !
No-a curse is on the soil;
Bonds and scourges, tears and toil,
Man degrade, and earth despoil.

Horror-struck I turn away,
Coasting down the Mexique bay;

Slavery there hath lost the day.
South America expands
Mountain-forests, river-lands,
And a nobler race demands;

And a nobler race arise,
Stretch their limbs, unclose their

eyes,
Claim the earth and seek the skies.
Gliding through Magellan's straits",
Where two oceans ope their gates,
What a spectacle awaits!

The immense Pacific 5 smiles
Round ten thousand little isles,

Haunts of violence and wiles.

1

Labrador, on the eastern coast of tagonia and Tierra-del-Fuego. DisN. America, a part of the Hudson's covered in 1520, by Ferdinando MaBay territory.

gellan, a Portuguese, in the service Pennsylvania, one of the divisions of Spain. of the United States. It obtained its 5 Magellan, after tossing about in name from its founder, Penn, a Quaker, the straits, on entering the comparaand sylva, a wood.

tively quiet open sea, gave it the 3 Hesperides, see note 1., page 76. name of the Pacific Ocean. Magellan's Straits, between Pa

« ElőzőTovább »