Page images

since it had seen living man. But the horses took fright at seeing it, and ran away in spite of all the knight and Gandalin could do, so the knight dismounted, and said, Brother, keep you aloof that we may not both perish, and see what success God will give me against this dreadful devil, and pray to him to help me that I may restore this island to his service, or if I am to die here, to have mercy upon my soul; for the rest, do as I have said before. But Gandalin could not answer for exceeding agony, for assuredly he thought his master's death was certain, unless it pleased God miraculously to deliver him. The Green Sword Knight then took his lance, and covered himself with his shield, and went against the endriago as a man already dead, but without fear. The devil seeing him come on, snorted out fire and smoke so black and thick that they could scarcely see one another, and he of the Green Sword went on through the smoke, and drove at the monster with his lance, and by great good fortune pierced it in the eye; it caught the lance with its talons, and bit it into pieces, and the iron and a fragment of the stave remained driven on through its tongue and the skin of the throat, for it had sprung on upon it, thinking to seize the knight; but he defended himself with good heart, seeing his exceeding peril; and the shock of this wound repelled the monster, and the blood ran fast, and with the shrieks it gave it ran down its throat and almost choked it, so that it could neither close its mouth nor bite with it; the knight then drew his green sword, and struck at Vol. m. 3 c

it, but the blow fell upon its scales, and felt as though it had fallen upon a rock, and it made no impression; the endriago thought then to grasp him, but only caught his shield, which it plucked so fiercely that he fell upon his hands, but he recovered, while with its talons the monster rent the shield to pieces. He then, seeing that his shield was gone and that his good sword availed him nothing, knew that he had no hope unless he could strike the other eye. Now the endriago was faint and weak with its wound, and our Lord, having wrath that the wicked one had so long had dominion over those who, sinners as they were, believed his holy catholic faith, was pleased to give the knight strength and especial grace to perform what else could not by course of nature have been done. He aimed his sword at the other eye, but God guided it to one of the nostrils, for they were large and spreading, and so hard he thrust that it reached the brain, the endriago itself forcing it on; for seeing him so near, it grappled with him, and plucked him towards itself, and with its dreadful talon rent away the arms from his back, and crushed the flesh and bones to the very entrails; but then being suffocated with its own blood, and the sword being in its brain, above all the sentence of God being passed upon it, its grasp relaxed, and it fell like one dead, and the knight plucked out his sword and thrust it down its throat till he killed the monster.

But before its soul departed the devil flew from its mouth and went through the air with a great thunderclap, and they of the castle heard it as if close to them, and, though barred and bolted in as they were, they feared greatly for their lives, and if the sea had not been so stormy, they would have run to their ships, howbeit they prayed earnestly to God for the good knight who was engaged in so terrible a battle. Southey.



A Most favourable wind continued to swell our sails. Our mighty keel shot rapidly through the waves of the Propontis, foaming before our prow. Every instant the vessel seemed to advance with accelerated speed, as if, become animated, it felt the near approach to its place of rest; and at last Constantinople rose, in all its grandeur, before us.

With eyes riveted on the opening splendours, I watched, as they rose out of the bosom of the surrounding waters, the pointed minarets, the swelling cupolas, and the innumerable habitations, which, either stretching away along the winding shore, reflected their image in the wave, or creeping up the steep sides of the mountains, traced their outline on the sky. At first agglomerated in a single confused mass, the lesser parts of this immense whole seemed, as we advanced, by degrees to unfold, to disengage themselves from each other, and to grow into various groups, divided by wide chasms and deep indentures, until at last the clusters, thus far still distantly connected, became transformed, as if by magic, into three entirely different cities *, each individually of prodigious extent, and each separated from the others by a wide arm of that sea, whose silver tide encompassed their stupendous base, and made it rest half on Europe and half on Asia. Entranced by this magnificent spectacle, I felt as if all the faculties of my soul were insufficient fully to embrace its glories: I hardlyretained power to breathe; and almost apprehended that in doing so, I might dispel the gorgeous vision, and find its whole fabric only a delusive dream! Hope.

* Constantinople, Galata, and Scutari.


C. and C. Whiuingliain, Chiswick.

« PreviousContinue »