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No cheerful blazing fire and seething pot
Third Wom. Alack, alack! of all my goodly stuff
(Enter a Young Man leading in an Idiot.)
(running up to him.)
Young Man. To save our idiot brother, see'st thou here?
Young Wom. Well hast thou done! poor helpless Balderkin !
(Enter Man carrying an Old Man on his back.)
Wiz. True, good folks ;
[Exeunt, all following the Wizard into the inner cave.
SCENE II. A field of battle strewed with slain, and some people seen upon the background searching
amongst the dead bodies.
Enter Hereulf and Ethelbert.
(stopping short and holding up his hands.)
Eth. (not attending to him, and after gazing for some time on the field.)
Ere your fond mothers ceas'd to tend you still,
Her. Ay, so it needs must be, since Mollo's son
(they withdraw to one side.)
Third Cairl. Yes, I have seen that which no other sight
Third Cairl. What voice is that? it comes from some one near.
First Cairl. See, yon stretch'd body moves its bloody hand : It must be him. (Voice again.) Baldwick!
Third Cairl (going up to the body from whence the voice came.) Who art thou, wretched man ? I know thee not.
Voice. Ah, but thou dost! I have sat by thy fire,
Third Cairl. Good holy saints ! and art thou Athelbald ?
Voice. If thou hast any love of mercy in thee,
Third Cairl. I will, good Athelbald. Alack the day!
(Turns the soldier on his face.) Voice. I thank thee, friend, farewell ! (dies)
Third Cairl. Farewell ! farewell ! a merry soul thou wert, And sweet thy ploughman's whistle in our fields.
Second Cairl. (starting with horror.) Good heaven forfend! it moves ! First Cairl. What dost thou see?
Second Cairl. Look on that bloody corse, so smear'd and mangled, That it has lost all form of what it was ; It moves ! it moves! there is life in it still.
First Cairl. Methought it spoke, but faint and low the sound.
Third Cairl. Ha ! did'st thou hear a voice ? we'll go to it. Who art thou ? oh! who art thou ? (to u fallen warrior, who makes signs
to him to pull something from his breast.) Yes, from thy breast; I understand the sign,
(pulling out a band or 'kerchief from his breast.) It is some maiden's pledge.
Fallen Warrior. (making signs.) Upou mine arm.
Third Cairl. I'll do it, but thy wounds are past all binding.
Third Cairl. Alack, alack ! he thinks of some sad maid !
(Enter a woman wailing and wringing her hands. Second Cairl. Ha! who comes wailing here ?
Third Cairl. Some wretched mother who has lost her son :
Mother. I rear'd him like a little playful kid,
Second Cairl. Be comforted, good mother.
Mother. What say'st thou to me ? knowest thou where he lies ? If thou hast kindness in thee tell me truly; For dead or living still he is mine all, And let me have him. Third Cairl. (aside to Second.) Send her away, good friend ; I know
her now. Her boy is lying with the farther dead, Like a fell’d sapling ; lead her from the field.
(Exeunt Mother and Second Cairl.
(Enter a young woman searching distractedly amongst the dead.)
Until these very eyes have seen thee dead,
Third Cairl. Ah, gentle maiden ! many a maiden's love,
Young Woman. I know, too true it is, but none like him.
Thy mated love, e'en with the grisly dead.
fallen warrior, and uttering a loud shrick falls senseless upon the ground, The Cairls run to her assistance, with Ethelbert and Hereulf, who come forward from the place they had withdrawn to ; Hereulf clenching his hand and muttering curses upon Mollo's son, as he crosses the stage. The scene closes.)
15.—THE CONVERSION OF ETHELBERT.
(From "The Penny Magazine.'); Bede, " the Venerable," without whose writings we should know next to nothing of the early history of our church, or of the first introduction of Christianity into the island, was born about the year 675 on the lands which afterwards belonged to the two abbeys of St. Peter and St. Paul in the bishopric of Durham, near the mouth of the river Tyne. At seven years of age he was taken into the monastery of St. Peter at Jarrow to be educated for a priest. After twelve years of diligent study he took deacon's orders, and eleven years after that period, or when he was in his thirtieth year, he was ordained a priest. His fame now reached Rome, and he was invited by Pope Sergius to repair to that city in order to assist in the promulgation of certain points of ecclesiastical discipline. But Bede, loving study better than travel, and being strongly attached to his own cell and quiet monastery declined the invitation, and remained at Jarrow to make himself master of all the learning which was then accessible, and to write the ecclesiastical history of the English nation. The materials within his reach consisted of a few chronicles, and a few annals preserved in different religious houses ; but he had also access to living prelates and other churchmen, some of whom had been principal actors in a part of the events and scenes he had to describe, while others inherited from their own fathers all the traditional lore relating to the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon people, and more particularly of that part of the nation which was settled to the north of the Humber. Hence we find that Bede's narrative is fullest when he treats of the introduction and establishment of Christianity in Northumbria. He lived so near to the time that his history has much of the charm of a contemporary narrative. The date of his birth was within eighty years after the first landing of Augustin, and within half a century of the date assigned to the conversion of the Northumbrian king Edwin. He must have known, in his youth, persons who were living at the time of that conversion, and many that were alive when King Oswald revived the Christian faith and brought the monks from Iona to Lindisfarne. He published his ecclesiastical history (if we may apply the term publication to the very limited means which then existed of making a literary work known) about the year 734 ; but previously to this he had written and put forth many other books and treatises. His whole life indeed appears to have been absorbed by his literary labours. Sickness and pain and the depressing influence of a confirmed asthma could not stop his pen. He died working. He was most anxious to finish two of his incomplete works, the one being a translation of St. John's Gospel into the Saxon language. Stretched on his pallet, and unable to write with his own hand, he employed Wilberch, a young monk of the house, to write under his dictation. While thus occupied he grew worse and very weak. The young monk, observing this, said “ There remains now only one chapter to do ; but it seems difficult to you to spcak.” The dying man answered—" It is easy ; take your pen, dip it in the ink, and write as fast as you can.” About nine o'clock Bede sent for some of his brethren to divide among them a little incense and a few other things of small value which he kept in a chest in his cell. The young man Wilberch then said “ Master, there is now but one sentence wanting.” “Write on," said Bede, “and write fast !” The young monk did his best, and soon said—“Now, master, it is finished.”—Bede replied—“Thou hast said the truth-consummatum est ! So take up my head, for I would sit opposite to the place where I have been wont to pray.” Being seated according to his desire upon the floor of his cell he said—“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost”—and he breathed his last breath with the last of these words. This, according to the most generally received opinion, happened on the 26th day of May in the year 735 when he was in the sixtieth year of his age. The monks buried his body in the church of his own monastery at Jarrow : but long after liis death his bones were removed to Durham Cathedral and placed in the same coffin or chest with those of St. Cuthbert. The church of Rome canonized him and conferred on him the name of “ the Venerable.” The name, at least, has been ratified by all succeeding ages.
Bede's ecclesiastical history contains a long series of striking picturesque narra. tives. We s'hall select and condense one or two of the more remarkable.
Gregory, a Roman monk, of a noble family which traced its origin from the time of the imperial Cæsars, when Rome was mistress of the world, goes one day into the slave-market, which is situated at the end of the ancient Forum. Here he is struck by the sight of some young slaves from Britain, who are publicly exposed for sale, even like the cattle that are selling in another part of the Forum or great market-place. The children have bright complexions and fair long hair ; their forms are beautiful, the innocence of their look is most touching. Gregory eagerly asks from what distant country they come, and being told that they are Angles the pious father says they would be Angels if they were but Christians. He throws back his cowl and stands looking at them, and the children look at him, while some slave-dealers close at hand are chaffering with their customers, or inviting purchasers by extolling the fine proportions and the beauty of the young Northern slaves. The Capitol of ancient Rome and the Tarpeian Rock are in full sight; the Coliseum shows its lofty walls at a short distance ; the magnificent columns of the Temple of Jupiter Stator come within the picture, and there are other ruins of a sublime character. It is but the end of the sixth century, and many ancient buildings are comparatively perfect, though destined to disappear in the course of succeeding centuries, and to leave it matter of doubt and speculation as to where stood the Temple of Concord, where the Temple of the Penates or Household Gods, where the Temple of Victory, where the arches of Tiberius and Severus, and where the other temples, arches, and columns that are known to have crowded the Forum and the spots surrounding it. As things are, we see the decay of Paganism and the establishment of Christianity upon its ruins. The temples, which are entire, are converted into churches : there is a crucifix on the highest part of the Capitol; there is a procession of monks passing along the edge of the Tarpeian Rock ; the firm set columns erected to that Jupiter whose faith could not stand are crowned