Page images

But soon tumultous thoughts began gave way,
Lull'd by the voice of my Preceptor sage;
Unquiet bosoms he could well allay,

His looks could soften, and his words assuage.

Unruly care from him was far remov'd,

Grief's wildest murmurs at his breath would cease; O! in his blameless life how well he prov'd The house of goodness is the house of peace!

Here I again enjoy'd my sweet repose,

And taught my heart, with pious wisdom fill'd, No more with anxious throb to seek disclose

What stubborn fate had doom'd to lie conceal'd.

But long these fond delusions did not last,

Some sterner pow'r my rising life controul'd, My visionary hopes too swiftly past,

And left my prospects, dreary, dark, and cold.

When rugged March o'er-rules the growing year, Have we not seen the sun, with treach'rous ray, Shine out awhile, then instant disappear,

And leave to damp and gloom the future day?

So dawn'd my fate, and so deceiv'd my heart,
Nor wean'd me from my hopes, but cruel tore;
In one unlook'd-for moment, bade me part
From all my comforts to return no more.

My guide once more arriv'd, tho', as of late,
Of soft deportment he appear'd not now,
But wild impatience flutter'd in his gait,
And care and thought seem'd busy on his brow.

"Rise, youth," he said, " and mount this rapid steed;”
I argued not; his bidding strait was done;
Proud-crested was the beast, of warlike breed,
Arm'd at all points, with rich caparison.

We commun'd not-such heat was in our speed,
Scarcely would it allow me pow'r of thought,
'Till eve, deep painted with a burning red,
To Bosworth field our panting coursers brought.

Who hath not heard of Bosworth's fatal plain,

Where base advent'rers did in compact join 'Gainst chiefs of prowess high, and noble strain, And low'r'd the crest of YORK's imperial line?

Now verging on that memorable ground,

Our course we stay'd-yet we alighted not; Fill'd with astonishment I gaz'd around,

While in my glowing breast my heart grew hot.

Thick-station'd tents, extended wide and far,

To th' utmost stretch of sight could I behold, And banners flutt'ring in the whistling air,

And archers trimly dight, and prancers bold.

The sinking sun, with richly burnish'd glow, Now to his western chamber made retire, While pointed spears, quick shifting to and fro, Seem'd all as spiral flames of hottest fire.

Promiscuous voices fill'd the floating gale,

The welkin echo'd with the steed's proud neigh: The bands oft turn'd and ey'd the western vale, Watching the closure of departing day.

Light vanish'd now apace, and twilight grey

With speed unusual mantled all the ground, The chieftains to their tents had ta'en their way, And centinels thick-posted watch'd around.

As sable night advanced more and more,

The mingled voices lessen'd by degrees, Sounding at length, as, round some craggy shore, Decreasing murmurs of the ebbing seas.

Now tow'rd the tents awhile we journey'd on
With wary pace, then lighted on, the ground,
Befriended by the stars, that brightly shone,

And fires, that cast a trembling gleam around.

With hasty foot we press'd the dewy sod,

Fit answer making to each station'd guard;
When full before us, as we onward trod,
A martial form our further progress barr'd.

He seem'd as tho' he there did list'ning stand,

His face deep-muffled in his folded cloak; Now threw it wide, snatch'd quick my dubious hand, And to a neighb'ring tent his speed betook.

With glowing crimson the pavilion shone,
Reflected by the lofty taper's ray,
The polish'd armour, bright and deft to don,
Beside the royal couch in order lay.

The crown imperial glitter'd in mine eye,

With various gems magnificently grac'd,
Nigh which, as meant to guard its dignity,
A weighty curtleaxe unsheath'd was plac'd.

The chief unbonnetted, and drew me nigh,

Wrapt in a deepen'd gloom his face appear'd Like the dark low'rings of the clouded sky,

Ere the big-bursting tempest's voice is heard.

Revenge, impatience, all that mads the soul,

All that despair and frenzy's flame inspires, Shewn by the tapers, in his eyes did roll,

Hot meteors they amid the lesser fires.

Tho' each dark line I could not truly scan,

Yet thro' the veil of his distemper'd mien, Broke forth a likeness of that lofty man,

Whom, whilom, at the palace I had seen.

To quell his feelings huge he sternly try'd,

Holding strong combat with his fighting soul, Cresting himself with more than earthly pride, As tho' from pow'r supreme he scorn'd controul.

At length (in part subdu'd his troubled breast)
On my impatient ear these accents broke,
( I pale and trembling as th' attentive priest,
Who waits the inspirings of his mystic oak!)

"Wonder no more why thou art hither brought,
The secret of thy birth shall now be shewn;
With glorious ardor be thy bosom fraught,
For know, thou art imperial RICHARD'S son.

Thy father I, who fold thee in my arms,
Thou royal issue of Plantagenet!

Soon as my pow'r hath quell'd these loud alarms,
Thou shalt be known, be honour'd, and be great.


"Rise from the ground, and dry thy flowing tears, To nature's dues be other hours assign'd! Beset with foes, solicitude, and cares,

Far other thoughts must now possess the mind.


"To-morrow, boy, I combat for my crown,
To shield from soil my dignity and fame:
Presumptuous Richmond seeks to win renown,
And on my ruin raise his upstart name:

* The battle of Bosworth field was fought August 22nd, 1485.

« PreviousContinue »