Page images

Till, in a legislator's awful grace
Dress'd, Buonaroti bid a Moses rise,
And, looking love immense, a Savior-God.*

"Of these observant, Painting felt the fire Burn inward. Then ecstatic she diffus'd The canvas, seiz'd the pallet, with quick hand The colors brew'd; and on the void expanse Her gay creation pour'd, her mimic world. Poor was the manner of her eldest race, Barren, and dry; just struggling from the taste, That had for ages scar'd in cloisters dim The superstitious herd: yet glorious then

Had social freedom bound their peace and arts, Instead of ruling power, ne'er meant for them, Employ'd their little cares, and sav'd their fate.

Beyond the rugged Apennines, that roll Far through Italian bounds their wavy tops, My path, too, I with public blessings strow'd; Free states and cities, where the Lombard plain, In spite of culture negligent and gross, From her deep bosom pours unbidden joys, And green o'er all the land a garden spreads. "The barren rocks themselves beneath my foot Relenting bloom'd on the Ligurian shore.

Were deem'd their works; where undevelop'd lay Thick-swarming people* there, like emmets, seiz'd,

The future wonders that enrich'd mankind,
And a new light and grace o'er Europe cast.
Arts gradual gather streams. Enlarging this,
To each his portion of her various gifts
The goddess dealt, to none indulging all;
No, not to Raphael. At kind distance still
Perfection stands, like happiness, to tempt
Th' eternal chase. In elegant design
Improving Nature; in ideas fair,
Or great, extracted from the fine antique;
In attitude, expression, airs divine,

Her sons of Rome and Florence bore the prize.
To those of Venice she the magic art
Of colors melting into colors gave.
Theirs too it was by one embracing mass

Of light and shade that settles round the whole,
Or varies tremulous from part to part,
O'er all a binding harmony to throw,
To raise the picture, and repose the sight.
The Lombard schoolt succeeding, mingled both.
"Meantime dread fanes, and palaces, around,
Rear'd the magnific front. Music again
Her universal language of the heart
Renew'd; and, rising from the plaintive vale,
To the full concert spread, and solemn quire.
'Ev'n bigots smil'd; to their protection took
Arts not their own, and from them borrow'd pomp:
For in a tyrant's garden these awhile

[ocr errors]

May bloom, though freedom be their parent soil.

And now confest, with gently-glowing gleam, The morning shone, and westward stream'd its light. The Muse awoke. Not sooner on the wing Is the gay bird of dawn. Artless her voice, Untaught and wild, yet warbling through the woods Romantic lays. But as her northern course She, with her tutor Science, in my train, Ardent pursu'd, her strains more noble grew: While reason drew the plan, the heart inform'd The moral page, and fancy lent it grace.

[blocks in formation]

Amid surrounding cliffs, the scatter'd spots,
Which Nature left in her destroying rage,†
Made their own fields, nor sigh'd for other lands.
There, in white prospect, from the rocky hill,
Gradual descending to the shelter'd shore,
By me proud Genoa's marble turrets rose.
And while my genuine spirit warm'd her sons,
Beneath her Dorias, not unworthy, she
Vied for the trident of the narrow seas,
Ere Britain yet had open'd all the main.

"Nor be the then triumphant state forgot, Where, push'd from plunder'd earth, a remnant still,

Inspir'd by me, through the dark ages kept
Of my old Roman flame some sparks alive:
The seeming god-built city! which my hand
Deep in the bosom fix'd of wondering seas.
Astonish'd mortals sail'd, with pleasing awe,
Around the sea-girt walls, by Neptune fenc'd,
And down the briny street; where on each hand,
Amazing seen amid unstable waves,

The splendid palace shines; and rising tides,
The green steps marking, murmur at the door.
To this fair queen of Adria's stormy gulf,
The mart of nations! long, obedient seas
Roll'd all the treasure of the radiant East;
But now no more. Than one great tyrant worse
(Whose shar'd oppression lightens, as diffus'd)
Each subject tearing, many tyrants rose.
The least the proudest. Join'd in dark cabal,
They jealous, watchful, silent, and severe,
Cast o'er the whole indissoluble chains:
The softer shackles of luxurious ease
They likewise added, to secure their sway.
Thus Venice fainter shines; and commerce thus,
Of toil impatient, flags the drooping sail.
Bursting, besides, his ancient bounds, he took
A larger circle; found another seat,¶
Opening a thousand ports, and, charm'd with toil,
Whom nothing can dismay, far other sons.

The Genoese territory is reckoned very populous, but the towns and villages for the most part lie hid among the Apennine rocks and mountains.

† According to Dr. Burnet's system of the deluge. Venice was the most flourishing city in Europe, with regard to trade, before the passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope and America was discovered.

§ Those who fled to some marshes in the Adriatic gulf, from the desolation spread over Italy by an irruption of the Huns, first founded there this famous city, about the beginning of the fifth century.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

The mountains then, clad with eternal snow, Confess'd my power. Deep as the rampant rocks, By Nature thrown insuperable round,

I planted there a league of friendly states,*
And bade plain freedom their ambition be.
There in the vale, where rural Plenty fills,
From lakes and meads, and furrow'd fields, her horn,
Chief, where the Lemant pure emits the Rhone,
Rare to be seen! unguilty cities rise,
Cities of brothers form'd: while equal life,
Accorded gracious with revolving power,
Maintains them free; and, in their happy streets,
Nor cruel deed nor misery is known.
For valor, faith, and innocence of life,
Renown'd, a rough laborious people, there,
Not only give the dreadful Alps to smile,
And press their culture on retiring snows;
But, to firm order train'd and patient war,
They likewise know, beyond the nerve remiss
Of mercenary force, how to defend

The tasteful little their hard toil has earn'd,
And the proud arm of Bourbon to defy.


"Ev'n, cheer'd by me, their shaggy mountains
More than or Gallic or Italian plains;
And sickening fancy oft, when absent long,
Pines to behold their Alpine views again :
The hollow-winding stream: the vale, fair spread,
Amid an amphitheatre of hills;

Whence, vapor-wing'd, the sudden tempest springs:
From steep to steep ascending, the gay train
Of fogs, thick-roll'd into romantic shapes :
The flitting cloud, against the summit dash'd;
And, by the Sun illumin'd, pouring bright
A gemmy shower: hung o'er amazing rocks,
The mountain-ash, and solemn-sounding pine:
The snow-fed torrent, in white mazes tost,
Down to the clear ethereal lake below:
And, high o'ertopping all the broken scene,
The mountain fading into sky; where shines
On winter winter shivering, and whose top
Licks from their cloudy magazine the snows.

From these descending, as I wav'd my course

O'er vast Germania, the ferocious nurse
Of hardy men and hearts affronting Death,

I gave some favor'd cities there to lift

Here, with the shifted vision, burst my joy. "O the dear prospect! O majestic view! See Britain's empire! lo! the watery vast Wide-waves, diffusing the cerulean plain. And now, methinks, like clouds at distance seen, Emerging white from deeps of ether, dawn My kindred cliffs; whence, wafted in the gale, Ineffable, a secret sweetness breathes. Goddess, forgive!-My heart, surpris'd, o'erflows With filial fondness for the land you bless." As parents to a child complacent deign Approvance, the celestial brightness smil'd; Then thus:" As o'er the wave-resounding deep, To my near reign, the happy isle, I steer'd With easy wing; behold! from surge to surge, Stalk'd the tremendous genius of the deep. Around him clouds, in mingled tempest, hung; Thick-flashing meteors crown'd his starry head; And ready thunder redden'd in his hand,

Or from it stream'd comprest the gloomy cloud.
Where'er he look'd, the trembling waves recoil'd.
He needs but strike the conscious flood, and shook
From shore to shore, in agitation dire,

It works his dreadful will. To me his voice
(Like that hoarse blast that round the cavern howls
Mixt with the murmurs of the falling main)
Address'd, began: By Fate commission'd, go,
My sister-goddess now, to yon blest isle,
Henceforth the partner of my rough domain,
All my dread walks to Britons open lie.
Those that refulgent, or with rosy mo.n,
Or yellow evening, flame: those that, profuse
Drunk by equator-suns, severely shine;
Or those that, to the Poles approaching, rise
In billows rolling into alps of ice.
Ev'n yet untouch'd by daring keel, be theirs
The vast Pacific; that on other worlds,
Their future conquest, rolls resounding tides.
Long I maintain'd inviolate my reign;
Nor Alexanders me, nor Cæsars brav'd.
Still, in the crook of shore, the coward sail
Till now low-crept; and peddling commerce plied
Between near-joining lands. For Britons, chief,
It was reserv'd, with star-directed prow,

To dare the middle deep, and drive assur'd

A nobler brow, and through their swarming streets, To distant nations through the pathless main,

More busy, wealthy, cheerful, and alive,
In each contented face to look my soul.

"Thence the loud Baltic passing, black with storm,
To wintry Scandinavia's utmost bound;
There, I the manly race, the parent hive
Of the mix'd kingdoms, form'd into a state
More regularly free. By keener air
Their genius purg'd, and temper'd hard by frost,
Tempest and toil their nerves, the sons of those
Whose only terror was a bloodless death,¶
They wise, and dauntless, still sustain my cause.
Yet there I fix'd not. Turning to the south,
The whispering zephyrs sigh'd at my delay."

[blocks in formation]

Chief, for their fearless hearts the glory waits,
Long months from land, while the black stormy


Around them rages, on the groaning mast
With unshook knee to know their giddy way;
To sing, unquell'd, amid the lashing wave;
To laugh at danger. Theirs the triumph be,
By deep invention's keen pervading eye,
The heart of courage, and the hand of toil,
Each conquer'd ocean staining with their blood,
Instead of treasure robb'd by ruffian war,
Round social Earth to circle fair exchange,
And bind the nations in a golden chain.
To these I honor'd stoop. Rushing to light,
A race of men behold! whose daring deeds
Will in renown exalt my nameless plains
O'er those of fabling Earth, as hers to mine
In terror yield. Nay, could my savage heart
Such glories check, their unsubmitting soul
Would all my fury brave, my tempest climb,
And might in spite of me my kingdom force.'
Here, waiting no reply, the shadowy power
Eas'd the dark sky, and to the deeps return'd:
2 R

While the loud thunder rattling from his hand,
Auspicious, shook opponent Gallia's shore.

"Of this encounter glad, my way to land
I quick pursued, that from the smiling sea
Receiv'd me joyous. Loud acclaims were heard;
And music, more than mortal, warbling, fill'd
With pleas'd astonishment the laboring hind,
Who for a while the unfinish'd furrow left,
And let the listening steer forget his toil.
Unseen by grosser eye, Britannia breath'd,
And her aerial train, these sounds of joy,
Full of old time, since first the rushing flood,
Urg'd by Almighty Power, this favor'd isle
Turn'd flashing from the continent aside,
Indented shore to shore responsive still,
Its guardian she-the goddess, whose staid eye
Beams the dark azure of the doubtful dawn.
Her tresses, like a flood of soften'd light,
Through clouds embrown'd, in waving circles play.
Warm on her cheek sits beauty's brightest rose :
Of high demeanor, stately, shedding grace
With every motion. Full her rising chest ;
And new ideas, from her finish'd shape,
Charm'd Sculpture taking might improve her art.
Such the fair guardian of an isle that boasts,
Profuse as vernal blooms, the fairest dames.
High shining on the promontory's brow,
Awaiting me, she stood; with hope inflam'd,
By my mixt spirit burning in her sons,
To firm, to polish, and exalt the state.

"The native Genii, round her, radiant smil'd.
Courage, of soft deportment, aspect calm,
Unboasting, suffering long, and, till provok'd,
As mild and harmless as the sporting child;
But, on just reason, once his fury rous'd,
No lion springs more eager to his prey:
Blood is a pastime; and his heart, elate,
Knows no depressing fear. That Virtue known
By the relenting look, whose equal heart
For others feels, as for another self:
Of various name, as various objects wake,
Warm into action, the kind sense within;
Whether the blameless poor, the nobly maim'd,
The lost to reason, the declin'd in life,
The helpless young that kiss no mother's hand,
And the grey second infancy of age,
She gives in public families to live,

A sight to gladden Heaven! whether she stands
Fair beckoning at the hospitable gate,
And bids the stranger take repose and joy;
Whether, to solace honest labor, she
Rejoices those that make the land rejoice;
Or whether to philosophy, and arts,
(At once the basis and the finish'd pride
Of government and life,) she spreads her hand;
Nor knows her gift profuse, nor seems to know,
Doubling her bounty, that she gives at all.
Justice to these her awful presence join'd,
The mother of the state! No low revenge,
No turbid passions in her breast ferment:
Tender, serene, compassionate of vice,
As the last woe that can afflict mankind,
She punishment awards; yet of the good
More piteous still, and of the suffering whole,
Awards it firm. So fair her just decree,
That, in his judging peers, each on himself
Pronounces his own doom. O, happy land!
Where reigns alone this justice of the free!
'Mid the bright group Sincerity his front,
Diffusive, rear'd; his pure untroubled eye

The fount of truth. The thoughtful Power, apart,
Now, pensive, cast on Earth his fix'd regard,
Now, touch'd celestial, lanch'd it on the sky.
The Genius he whence Britain shines supreme,
The land of light, and rectitude of mind.
He too the fire of fancy feeds intense,
With all the train of passions thence deriv'd:
Not kindling quick, a noisy transient blaze,
But gradual, silent, lasting, and profound.
Near him Retirement, pointing to the shade,
And Independence, stood: the generous pair,
That simple life, the quiet-whispering grove,
And the still raptures of the free-born soul
To cates prefer, by virtue bought, not earn'd,
Proudly prefer them to the servile pomps,
And to the heart-embitter'd joys of slaves.
Or should the latter, to the public scene
Demanded, quit his sylvan friend awhile;
Nought can his firmness shake, nothing seduce
His zeal, still active for the common-weal;
Nor stormy tyrants, nor corruption's tools,
Foul ministers, dark-working by the force
Of secret-sapping gold. All their vile arts,
Their shameful honors, their perfidious gifts,
He greatly scorns; and, if he must betray
His plunder'd country, or his power resign,
A moment's parley were eternal shame :
Illustrious into private life again,

From dirty levees he unstain'd ascends,
And firm in senates stands the patriot's ground,
Or draws new vigor in the peaceful shade.
Aloof the bashful Virtues hover'd coy,
Proving by sweet distrust distrusted worth.
Rough Labor clos'd the train; and in his hand,
Rude, callous, sinew-swell'd, and black with toil,
Came manly Indignation. Sour he seems,
And more than seems, by lawful pride assail'd;
Yet kind at heart, and just, and generous, there
No vengeance lurks, no pale insidious gall:
Ev'n in the very luxury of rage,

He softening can forgive a gallant foe;
The nerve, support, and glory of the land!
Nor be Religion, rational and free,
Here pass'd in silence; whose enraptur❜d eye
Sees Heaven with Earth connected, human things
Link'd to divine: who not from servile fear,
By rites for some weak tyrant incense fit,
The god of Love adores, but from a heart
Effusing gladness, into pleasing awe
That now astonish'd swells, now in a calm
Of fearless confidence that smiles serene ;
That lives devotion, one continual hymn,
And then most grateful, when Heaven's bounty most
Is right enjoy'd. This ever-cheerful power
O'er the rais'd circle ray'd superior day.

"I joy'd to join the Virtues whence my reign
O'er Albion was to rise. Each cheering each,
And, like the circling planets from the Sun,
All borrowing beams from me, a heighten'd zeal
Impatient fir'd us to commence our toils,
Or pleasures rather. Long the pungent time
Pass'd not in mutual hails; but, through the land
Darting our light, we shone the fogs away.

"The Virtues conquer with a single look. Such grace, such beauty, such victorious light, Live in their presence, stream in every glance, That the soul won, enamour'd, and refin'd, Grows their own image, pure ethereal flame. Hence the foul demons, that oppose our reign, Would still from us deluded mortals wrap;

[ocr errors]

Or in gross shades they drown the visual ray,
Or by the fogs of prejudice, where mix
Falsehood and truth confounded, foil the sense
With vain refracted images of bliss.

But chief around the court of flatter'd kings
They roll the dusky rampart, wall o'er wall
Of darkness pile, and with their thickest shade
Secure the throne. No savage Alp, the den
Of wolves, and bears, and monstrous things obscene,
That vex the swain, and waste the country round,
Protected lies beneath a deeper cloud.
Yet there we sometimes send a searching ray.
As, at the sacred opening of the morn,
The prowling race retire; so, pierc'd severe,
Before our potent blaze these demons fly,
And all their works dissolve.-The whisper'd tale,
That, like the fabling Nile, no fountain knows;
Fair-fac'd deceit, whose wily conscious eye
Ne'er looks direct. The tongue that licks the dust,
But, when it safely dares, as prompt to sting:
Smooth crocodile destruction, whose fell tears
Ensnare. The Janus face of courtly pride;
One to superiors heaves submissive eyes,
On hapless worth the other scowls disdain.
Cheeks that for some weak tenderness, alone,
Some virtuous slip, can wear a blush. The laugh
Profane, when midnight bowls disclose the heart,
At starving virtue, and at virtue's fools.
Determin'd to be broke, the plighted faith:
Nay more, the godless oath that knows no ties.
Soft-buzzing slander; silky moths, that eat
An honest name. The harpy hand, and maw,
Of avaricious Luxury; who makes

The throne his shelter, venal laws his fort,

And, by his service, who betrays his king.

[ocr errors]


To stoop, retir'd; and to their keen effort
Yielding at last, recoil'd the Roman power.
In vain, unable to sustain the shock,
From sea to sea desponding legions rais'd
The wall immense and yet, on Summer's eve,
While sport his lambkins round, the shepherd's gaze,
Continual o'er it burst the northern storm,†
As often, check'd, receded; threatening hoarse
A swift return. But the devouring flood
No more endur'd control, when, to support
The last remains of empire, was recall'd
The weary Roman, and the Briton lay
Unnerv'd, exhausted, spiritless, and sunk.
Great proof! how men enfeeble into slaves.
The sword behind him flash'd; before him roar'd,
Deaf to his woes, the deep. Forlorn, around
He roll'd his eye, not sparkling ardent flame,
As when Caractacus|| to battle led
Silurian swains, and Boadicea taught
Her raging troops the miseries of slaves.

"Then, (sad relief!) from the bleak coast that

The German ocean roar, deep-blooming, strong,
And yellow-hair'd, the blue-ey'd Saxon came.
He came implor'd, but came with other aim
Than to protect. For conquest and defence
Suffices the same arm. With the fierce race
Pour'd in a fresh invigorating stream;
Blood, where unquell'd a mighty spirit glow'd.
Rash war, and perilous battle their delight;
And immature, and red with glorious wounds,
Unpeaceful death their choice ;** deriving thence

The wall of Severus, built upon Adrian's rampart,

Now turn your view, and mark from Celtic which ran for eighty miles quite across the country,


To present grandeur how my Britain rose.

from the mouth of the Tyne to Solway Frith.
Irruptions of the Scots and Picts.

The Roman empire being miserably torn by the northern nations, Britain was for ever abandoned by the Romans, in the year 426 or 427.

§ The Britons applying to Etius, the Roman general, for assistance, thus expressed their miserable condition: "We know not which way to turn us. The barbarians drive us to the sea, and the sea forces us back to the bar barians; between which we have only the choice of two deaths, either to be swallowed up by the waves, or butchered by the sword."

"Bold were those Britons, who, the careless sons Of Nature, roam'd the forest-bounds, at once Their verdant city, high-embowering fane, And the gay circle of their woodland wars: For by the Druidt taught, that death but shifts The vital scene, they that prime fear despis'd; And, prone to rush on steel, disdain'd to spare An ill-sav'd life that must again return. Erect from Nature's hand, by tyrant force, And still more tyrant custom, unsubdued, Man knows no master save creating Heaven, Or such as choice or common good ordain. This general sense, with which the nations I Promiscuous fire, in Britons burn'd intense, of future times prophetic. Witness, Rome, Who saw'st thy Cæsar, from the naked land, Whose only fort was British hearts, repell'd, To seek Pharsalian wreaths. Witness, the toil, The blood of ages, bootless to secure, Beneath an empire's yoke, a stubborn isle, Disputed hard, and never quite subdued. The North remain'd untouch'd, where those who tive lives, and died natural deaths, by sickness or by age,

[blocks in formation]

King of the Silures, famous for his great exploits, and accounted the best general Great Britain had ever produced. The Silures were esteemed the bravest and most powerful of all the Britons: they inhabited Herefordshire, Radnorshire, Brecknockshire, Monmouthshire, and Glamorganshire.

¶ Queen of the Iceni: her story is well known.

** It is certain, that an opinion was fixed and general among them (the Goths) that death was but the entrance into another life; that all men who lived lazy and inac

went into vast caves under ground, all dark and miry, full of noisome creatures usual to such places, and there for ever grovelled in endless stench and misery. On the contrary, all who gave themselves to warlike actions and enterprises, to the conquest of their neighbors and the slaughter of their enemies, and died in battle, or of violent deaths upon bold adventures or resolutions, went immediately to the vast hall or palace of Odin, their god of war, who eternally kept open house for all such guests, where they were entertained at infinite tables, in perpetual feasts and mirth, carousing in bowls made of the

A right to feast, and drain immortal bowls
In Odin's hall; whose blazing roof resounds
The genial uproar of those shades, who fall
In desperate fight, or by some brave attempt;
And though more polish'd times the martial creed
Disown, yet still the fearless habit lives.
Nor were the surly gifts of war their all.
Wisdom was likewise theirs, indulgent laws,
The calm gradations of art-nursing peace,
And matchless order, the deep basis still
On which ascends my British reign. Untam'd
To the refining subtleties of slaves,

They brought an happy government along,
Form'd by that freedom, which, with secret voice,
Impartial Nature teaches all her sons,

And which of old through the whole Scythian mass
I strong inspir'd. Monarchical their state,
But prudently confin'd, and mingled wise
Of each harmonious power: only, too much
Imperious war into their rule infus'd,
Prevail'd their general-king, and chieftain-thanes.
"In many a field, by civil fury stain'd,
Bled the discordant heptarchy ;* and long
(Educing good from ill) the battle groan'd;
Ere, blood-cemented, Anglo-Saxons saw
Egbertt and Peace on one united throne.

"No sooner dawn'd the fair disclosing calm
Of brighter days, when, lo! the North anew,
With stormy nations black, on England pour'd
Woes the severest e'er a people felt.
The Danish raven, lur'd by annual prey,
Hung o'er the land incessant. Fleet on fleet
Of barbarous pirates unremitting tore
The miserable coast. Before them stalk'd,
Far-seen, the demon of devouring flame;
Rapine, and murder, all with blood besmear'd,

Without or ear, or eye, or feeling heart;

Thus cruel ages pass'd; and rare appear'd
White-mantled Peace, exulting o'er the vale,
As when with Alfred.* from the wilds she came
To polic'd cities and protected plains.

Thus by degrees the Saxon empire sunk,
Then set entire in Hastings't bloody field.
"Compendious war! (on Britain's glory bent,
So Fate ordain'd) in that decisive day,
The haughty Norman seiz'd at once an isle,
From which, through many a century, in vain,
The Roman, Saxon, Dane, had toil'd and bled.
Of Gothic nations this the final burst;
And, mix'd with the genius of these people, all
These virtues mix'd in one exalted stream,
Here the rich tide of English blood grew full.

"Awhile my spirit slept; the land awhile,
Affrighted, droop'd beneath despotic rage.
Instead of Edward'st equal gentle laws,
The furious victor's partial will prevail'd.
All prostrate lay; and, in the secret shade,
Deep-stung, but fearful, Indignation gnash'd
His teeth. Of freedom, property, despoil'd,
And of their bulwark, arms; with castles crush'd;
With ruffians quarter'd o'er the bridled land;
The shivering wretches, at the curfew sound
Dejected shrunk into their sordid beds,

And, through the mournful gloom, of ancient times
Mus'd sad, or dreamt of better. Ev'n to feed
A tyrant's idle sport the peasant starv'd:
To the wild herd, the pasture of the tame,
The cheerful hamlet, spiry town, was given,
And the brown forest || roughen'd wide around.
But this so dead, so vile submission, long
Endur'd not. Gathering force, my gradual flame
Shook off the mountain of tyrannic sway.
Unus'd to bend, impatient of control,


Tyrants themselves the common tyrant check'd.

While close behind them march'd the sallow power The church, by kings intractable and fierce,

Of desolating famine, who delights

In grass-grown cities, and in desert fields;
And purple-spotted pestilence, by whom
Ev'n friendship scar'd, in sickening horror sinks
Each social sense and tenderness of life.
Fixing at last, the sanguinary race

Spread, from the Humber's loud-resounding shore,
To where the Thames devolves his gentle maze,
And with superior arm the Saxon aw'd.
But superstition first, and monkish dreams,
And monk-directed cloister-seeking kings,
Had ate away his vigor, ate away

His edge of courage, and depress'd the soul
Of conquering freedom, which he once respir'd.

skulls of their enemies they had slain; according to the number of whom, every one in these mansions of plea

sure was the most honored and best entertained.

Sir William Temple's Essay on Heroic Virtue. *The seven kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxons, considered as being united into one common government, under a general in chief, or monarch, and by the means of an assembly general, or Wittenagemot.

† Egbert, king of Wessex, who, after having reduced all the other kingdoms of the heptarchy under his dominion, was the first king of England.

A famous Danish standard, called reafan, or raven.The Danes imagined that, before a battle, the raven wrought upon this standard clapt its wings or hung down its head, in token of victory or defeat.

Denied her portion of the plunder'd state,
Or, tempted, by the timorous and weak,

To gain new ground, first taught their rapine law.
The barons next a nobler league began,
Both those of English and of Norman race,
In one fraternal nation blended now,
The nation of the free !¶ press'd by a band
Of patriots, ardent as the Summer's noon
That looks delighted on, the tyrant see!
Mark! how with feign'd alacrity he bears
His strong reluctance down, his dark revenge,

Alfred the Great, renowned in war, and no less famous in peace for his many excellent institutions, particularly that of juries.

†The battle of Hastings, in which Harold II., the last of the Saxon kings, was slain, and William the Conqueror made himself master of England.

† Edward III. the Confessor, who reduced the WestSaxon, Mercian, and Danish laws, into one body, which from that time became common to all England, under the

name of the Laws of Edward.

§ The curfew bell (from the French couvrefeu,) which was rung every night at eight of the clock, to warn the English to put out their fires and candles, under the penalty of a severe fine.

I The New Forest, in Hampshire, t make which the country for above thirty miles in compass was laid waste.

¶ On the 5th of June, 1215, King John, met by the barons on Runnemede, signed the great charter of liberties, or Magna Charta.

« EelmineJätka »