Page images

Tower of London, and slew the archbishop and the Treasurer, for whose heads the people had cried out loudly the day before. He and his men even thrust their swords into the bed of the Princess of Wales, while the princess was in it, to make certain that none of their enemies were concealed there.

12. So Wat and his men still continued armed, and rode about the city. Next morning, the king with a small train of some sixty gentlemen, among whom was Walworth the Mayor, rode into Smithfield, and saw Wat and his people at a little distance. Wat said to his men, “There is the king. I will go speak with him, and tell him what we want." Straightway, Wat rode up to him, and began to talk.

King,” said Wat," dost thou see all my men there ?” “Ah!" said the king, "why ?” cause," said Wat, "they are all at my command, and have sworn to do whatever I bid them.”

13. Some declared afterwards that as Wat said this, he laid his hand on the king's bridle. Others declared that he was seen to play with his own dagger. I think myself, that he just spoke to the king like a rough angry man that he was, and did nothing more. At any rate, he was expecting no attack, and prepared for no resistance; when Walworth the Mayor did the not very valiant' deed of drawing a short sword, and stabbing him in the throat: he dropped from his horse, and one of the king's people speedily finished him.

- Be

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]

14. So fell Wat Tyler. Fawners and flatterers made a mighty triumph of it, and set up a cry which will occasionally find an echo to this day. But Wat was a hard-working man, who had suffered much and had been foully outraged ; and it is probable that he was a man of a much higher nature and a much braver spirit than any of those who exulted then, and have exulted ® since, over his defeat.

15. Seeing Wat down, his men immediately bent their bows to avenge his fall. If the young king had not bad presence of mind at that dangerous moment, both he and the Mayor might have followed Tyler pretty fast. But the king riding up to the crowd, cried out that Tyler was a traitor, and that he would be their leader. They were so taken by surprise that they set up a great shouting, and followed the king until he was met at Islington by a large body of soldiers.

16. The end of this rising was the then usual end. As soon as the king found himself safe, he unsaid all he had said, and undid all he had done. Some fifteen hundred of the rioters were tried, mostly in Essex, with great rigour, and executed with great cruelty.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


A SOLDIER of the Legion lay dying in Al

giers; There was lack of woman's nursing, there was

dearth of woman's tears ; But a comrade stood beside him, while his life

blood ebbed away, And bent, with pitying glances, to hear what

he might say: The dying soldier faltered, as he took that

comrade's hand, And he said: “I never more shall see my own,

my native land : Take a message and a token to some distant

friends of mine; For I was born at Bingen—at Bingen on the




“Tell my brothers and companions, when they

meet and crowd around, To hear my mournful story, in the pleasant

vineyard ground, That we fought the battle bravely; and when

the day was done, Full many a corse lay ghastly pale beneath the

setting sun; And amidst the dead and dying were some

grown old in warsThe death-wound on their gallant breasts, the

last of many scars;

But some were young, and suddenly beheld

life's morn decline; Aud one had come from Bingen-fair Bingen

on the Rhine.


“Tell my mother that her other sons shall

comfort her old age, And I was aye a truant bird, that thought his

home a cage ;


For my father was a soldier, and, even as a child, My heart leaped forth to hear him tell of

struggles fierce and wild ; And when he died, and left us to divide his

scanty hoard, I let them take whate'er they would, but kept

my father's sword; And with boyish love I hung it where the bright

light used to sbine, On the cottage wall at Bingen-calm Bingen

on the Rhine!

“Tell my sister not to weep for me, and sob with drooping head,

25 When the troops are marching home again,

with glad and gallant tread; But to look upon them proudly, with a calm

and steadfast eye, For her brother was a soldier too, and not

afraid to die. And if a comrade seek her love, then ask her

in my name To listen to him kindly, without regret orshame; 30

« PreviousContinue »