Page images
PDF
EPUB

and a variety of small original and translated pieces. Bosworth Field may be compared with Addison's Campaign, without a high compliment to either. Sir John has no fancy, but there is force and dignity in some of his passages; and he deserves notice as one of the earliest polishers of what is called the heroic couplet,

RICHARD BEFORE THE BATTLE OF BOSWORTH.

The duke's stout presence, and courageous looks,
Were to the king as falls of sliding brooks;
Which bring a gentle and delightful rest
To weary eyes, with grievous care opprest.
He bids that Norfolk, and his hopeful son,
Whose rising fame in arms this day begun,
Should lead the vanguard--for so great command
He dares not trust in any other hand-
The rest he to his own advice refers,
And as the spirit in that body stirs.
Then, putting on his crown, a fatal sign!
So offer'd beasts near death in garlands shine
He rides about the ranks, and strives t'inspire
Each breast with part of his unwearied fire..

“ My fellow soldiers ! though your swords ;
Are sharp, and need not whetting by my words,
Yet call to mind the many glorious days
In which we treasured up immortal praise.
If, when I serv’d, I ever fled from foe,
Fly ye from mine let me be punish'd so!

But if my father, when at first he tried
How all his sons could shining blades abide,
Found me an eagle, whose undazzled eyes
Affront the beams that from the steel arise,
And if I now in action teach the same,
Know then, ye have but changed your general's

name.

Be still yourselves! Ye fight against the dross
Of those who oft have run from you with loss.
How many Somersets (dissension's brands)
Have felt the force of our revengeful hands?--
From whom this youth, as from a princely flood,
Derives his best, but not untainted blood-
Have our assaults made Lancaster to droop?
And shall this Welshman, with his ragged troop,
Subdue the Norman and the Saxon line,
That only Merlin may be thought divine?-
See what a guide these fugitives have chose !
Who, bred among the French, our ancient foes,
Forgets the English language and the ground,
And knows not what our drums and trumpets sound!"

END OF VOL. I.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »