« PreviousContinue »
up among the crowd of eager listeners, as they stand on tiptoe, and catch every syllable of utterance which is read to them out of the registers of death. Oh! say, what mystic spell is that which so blinds us to the suffering of our brethren ; which deafens to our ear the voice of bleeding humanity when it is aggravated by the shriek of dying thousands ; which makes the very magnitude of the slaughter throw a softening disguise over its cruelties and its horrors; which causes us to eye, with indifference, the field that is crowded with the most revolting abominations, and arrests that sigh which each individual would, singly, have drawn from us by the report of the many who have fallen and breathed their last in agony along with him. CHALMERS.
A MOTHER'S PORTRAIT.
O THAT those lips had language Life has passed
me heard thee
I will gbey, not willingly alone,
Where thou art gone
many a sad to-morrow came and went, Till, all
stock of infant sorrow spent, I learned at last, submission to my lot; But, though I less deplored thee, ne'er forgot.
KING HAROLD'S SPEECH TO HIS ARMY BEFORE THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS.
CIS day, O friends and Englishmen, sons of our
common land,—this day, ye fight for liberty. The Count of the Normans hath, I know, a mighty army; I disguise not its strength. That army he hath collected together by promising to each man a share in the spoils of England. Already, in his court and his camp, he hath parcelled out the lands of this kingdom; and fierce are the robbers that fight for the hope of plunder! But he cannot offer to his greatest chief boons nobler than those I offer to my meanest freeman-liberty, and right, and law, on the soil of his fathers ! Ye have heard of the miseries endured, in the old time, under the Dane; but they were slight indeed to those which ye may expect from the Norman. The Dane was kindred to us in language and in law, and who now can tell Saxon from Dane ? But yon men would rule ye in a language ye know not; by a law that claims the crown as the right of the sword, and divides the land among the hirelings of an army. We baptized the Dane, and the Church tamed his fierce end into
yon men make the Church itself their ally, and march to carnage under the banner profaned to the foulest of human wrongs ! Offscourings of all nations, they come against you; ye fight as brothers under the eyes of your fathers and chosen chiefs ; ye fight for the women we would save; ye fight for the children ye would guard from eternal bondage ; ye fight for the altars which yon banner now darkens ! Foreign priest is a tyrant as ruthless and stern as ye shall find foreign baron and
king! Let no man dream of retreat ; every inch of ground that ye yield is the soil of your native land. For me, on this field I peril all. Think that mine eye is upon you, wherever ye are. If a line waver or shrink, ye shall hear in the midst the voice of your king. Hold fast to your ranks. Remember, such among you as fought with me against Hardradaremember that it was not till the Norsemen lost, by rash sallies, their serried array, that our arms prevailed against them. Be warned by their fatal error, break not the form of the battle ; and I tell you, on the faith of a soldier, who never yet hath left field without victory, that ye cannot be beaten. While I speak, the winds swell the sails of the Norse ships, bearing home the corpse of Hardrada. Accomplish, this day, the last triumph of England; add to these hills a new mount of the conquered dead! And when in far times and strange lands, scald and scop shall praise the brave man for some valiant deed, wrought in some holy cause, they shall say, “He was brave as those who fought by
“ the side of Harold, and swept from the sward of England the hosts of the haughty Norman."
SIR E. BULWER LYTTON.
THE ROMANCE OF THE SWAN'S NEST.
LITTLE Ellie sits alone
'Mid the beaches of a meadow
And the trees are showering down
On her shining hair and face.
She has thrown her bonnet by, And her feet she has been dipping
In the shallow water's flow :
Now she holds them nakedly In her hands, all sleek and dripping,
While she rocketh to and fro.
Little Ellie sits alone,
Fills the silence like a speech
While she thinks what shall be done, And the sweetest pleasure chooses
For her future within reach.
Little Ellie in her smile Chooses—“I will have a lover,
Riding on a steed of steeds :
He shall love me without guile," And to him I will discover
The swan's nest among the reeds.
“ And the steed shall be red-roan, And the lover shall be noble,
With an eye that takes the breath:
And the lute he plays upon Shall strike ladies into trouble,
As his sword strikes men to death.
« And the steed it shall be shod All in silver, housed in azure,
And the mane shall swim the wind;
And the hoofs along the sod Shall flash onward and keep measure,
Till the shepherds look behind.