Page images



WHIS 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.”




LITTF Ellie sits alone

ITTLE Ellie sits alone

'Mid the beaches of a meadow
By a stream-side on the grass,

And the trees are showering down
Doubles of their leaves in shadow

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,
And the smile she softly uses

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.

“But my lover will not prize All the glory that he rides in, When he



He will say, 'O Love, thine eyes
Build the shrine my soul abides in,

And I kneel here for thy grace!

“ Then, ay, then he shall kneel low, With the red-roan steed anear him,

Which shall seem to understand,

Till I answer, 'Rise and go!
For the world must love and fear him

Whom I gift with heart and hand.'

“ Then he will arise so pale, I shall feel my own lips tremble

With a yes I must not say,

Nathless maiden-brave,' Farewell,' I will utter, and dissemble

• Light to-morrow with to-day!'

“Then he'll ride among the hills To the wide world past the river,

There to put away all wrong ;

To make straight distorted wills, And to empty the broad quiver

Which the wicked bear along.

“ Three times shall a young foot-page Swim the stream and climb the mountain

And kneel down beside my feet

‘Lo, my master sends this gage, Lady, for thy pity's counting!

What wilt thou exchange for it?'

“ And the first time, I will send A white rose bud for a guerdon,

And the second time, a glove ;
But the third time-I


end From my pride, and answer— Pardon, If he comes to take



“Then the young foot-page will run, Then my lover will ride faster, Till he kneeleth at


knee: 'I am a duke's eldest son, Thousand serfs do call me master,

But, O Love, I love but thee!'

“ He will kiss me on the mouth Then, and lead me as a lover

Through the crowds that praise his deeds:

And, when soul-tied by one troth, Unto him I will discover

That swan's nest among the reeds.”

Little Ellie, with her smile Not yet ended, rose up gayly,

Tied the bonnet, donn'd the shoe,

And went homeward, round a mile, Just to see, as she did daily,

What more eggs were with the two.

Pushing through the elm-tree copse, Winding up the stream, light-hearted,

Where the osier pathway leads,

Past the boughs she stoops-and stopu. Lo, the wild swan had deserted,

And a rat had gnaw'd the reeds !

« PreviousContinue »