Page images


The Freers of Seincte Augustyne next

Appeared to the syghte,
Alle cladd ynne homelie russett weedes,
Of godlie monkysh plyghte:

272 Ynne diffraunt partes a godlie psaumie

Moste sweetlie theye dydd chaunt;
Behynde theyre backes syx mynstrelles came,
Who tun'd the strunge bataunt.




“Sweet Florence! nowe I praie forbere,

Ynn quiet lett mee die;
Praie Godde thatt ev'ry Christian soule

Maye looke onne dethe as I.
"Sweet Florence ! why these brinie teers ?

Theye washe my soule awaie,
And almost make mee wyshe for lyfe,

Wyth thee, sweete dame, to staie. “'Tys butt a journie I shalle goe

Untoe the lande of blysse;
Nowe, as a proofe of husbande's love,
Receive thys holie kysse.”

232 Thenne Florence, fault'ring ynne her saie,

Tremblynge these wordyes spoke, “Ah, cruele Edwarde! bloudie kynge !

Mye herte ys welle nyghe broke:
“Ah, sweete Syr Charles ! why wylt thou goe,

Wythoute thye lovynge wyfe?
The cruelle axe thatt cuttes thy necke,

Ytte eke shall ende mye lyfe.”
And nowe the officers came ynne

To brynge Syr Charles awaie, Whoe turnedd toe hys lovynge wyse, And thus to her dydd saie:

244 "I goe to lyfe, and nott to dethe;

Truste thou ynne Godde above,
And teache thy sonnes to feare the Lorde,
And ynne theyre hertes hym love:

248 Teache them to runne the nobile race

Thatt I theyre fader runne;
Florence ! shou'd dethe thee take adieu !
Yee officers leade onne."



Thenne fyve-and-twentye archers came;

Echone the bowe dydd bende,
From rescue of Kynge Henries friends
Syr Charles forr to defend.

280 Bolde as a lyon came Syr Charles,

Drawne onne a cloth-layde sledde,
Bye two blacke stedes ynne trappynges white,

Wyth plumes uponne theyre hedde: 284 Behynde hym five-and-twenty moe

Of archers stronge and stoute,
Wyth bended bowe echone ynne hande,
Marched ynne goodlie route;

288 Seincte Jameses Freers marched next,

Echone hys 'parte dydd chaunt;
Behynde theyre backes syx mynstrelles came,
Who tun'd the strunge bataunt:

292 Thenne came the maior and eldermenne,

Ynne clothe of scarlett deck't;
And theyre attendynge menne echone,
Lyke easterne princes trickt:

296 And after them, a multitude

Of citizens dydd thronge;
The wyndowes were alle fulle of heddes,
As hee dydd passe alonge.

300 And whenne hee came to the hyghe crosse,

Syr Charles dydd turne and saie, “O thou, thatt savest manne fromme synne,

Washe mye soule clean thys daie!” 304

[blocks in formation]


Uponne a sledde hee mounted thenne,

Wythe lookes full brave and swete; Lookes thatt enshone ne more concern

Thanne anie ynne the strete.

Att the grete mynster wyndowe sat

The kynge ynne myckle state,
To see Charles Bawdin goe alonge

To hys most welcom fate.
Soone as the sledde drewe nyghe enowe,

Thatt Edwarde hee myghte heare,
The brave Syr Charles hee dydd stande uppe,
And thus hys wordes declare:

312 “Thou seest me, Edwarde! traytour vile!

Expos'd to infamie;
Butt bee assur'd, disloyall manne!

I'm greaterr nowe thanne thee.


[blocks in formation]

316 320




Thenne hee, wyth preestes, uponne hys knees,

A prayer to Godde dyd make, Beseechynge hym unto hymselfe

Hys partynge soule to take. Thenne, kneelynge downe, hee layd hys hedde

Most seemlie onne the blocke; Whyche fromme hys bodie fayre at once The able heddes-manne stroke:

372 And oute the bloude beganne to flowe,

And rounde the scaffolde twyne; And teares, enow to washe 't awaie,

Dydd flowe fromme each mann's eyne.
The bloudie axe hys bodie fayre

Ynnto foure partes cutte;
And ev'rye parte, and eke hys hedde,

Uponne a pole was putte.
One parte dydd rotte onne Kynwulph-hylle,

One onne the mynster-tower,
And one from off the castle-gate
The crowen dydd devoure;

384 The other onne Seyncte Powle's goode gate,

A dreery spectacle;
Hys hedde was plac'd onne the hyghe crosse,

Ynne hyghe-streete most nobile.
Thus was the ende of Bawdin's fate:

Godde prosper longe oure kynge,
And grante hee maye, wyth Bawdin's soule,
Ynne heav'n Godd's mercie synge !






“Bye foule proceedyngs, murdre, bloude,

Thou wearest nowe a crowne; And hast appoynted mee to die,

By power nott thyne owne.
"Thou thynkest I shall die to-daie;

I have beene dede 'till nowe,
And soone shall lyve to weare a crowne
For aie uponne my browe:

324 “Whylst thou, perhapps, for som few yeares,

Shalt rule thys fickle lande,
To lett them knowe howe wyde the rule

'Twixt kynge and tyrant hande:
“Thye pow'r unjust, thou traytour slave!

Shall falle onne thye owne hedde”.
Fromm out of hearyng of the kynge

Departed thenne the sledde.
Kynge Edwarde's soule rush'd to hys face,

Hee turn'd hys hedde awaie,
And to hys broder Gloucester

Hee thus dydd speke and saie:
"To hym that soe much dreaded dethe

Ne ghastlie terrors brynge,
Beholde the manne! hee spake the truthe,

Hee's greater thanne a kynge !"
"Soe let hym die !” Duke Richarde sayde;

"And maye echone oure foes Bende downe theyre neckes to bloudie axe

And feede the carryon crowes.” And nowe the horses gentlie drewe

Syr Charles uppe the hyghe hylle;
The axe dydd glysterr ynne the sunne,

His pretious bloude to spylle.
Syrr Charles dydd uppe the scaffold goe,

As uppe a gilded carre
Of victorye, bye val'rous chiefs
Gayn'd ynne the bloudie warre:

352 And to the people hee dyd saie,

“Beholde you see mee dye, For servynge loyally mye kynge,

Mye kynge most ryghtfullie.
“As longe as Edwarde rules thys land,

Ne quiet you wylle knowe:
Your sonnes and husbandes shalle bee slayne
And brookes wythe bloude shall flowe.

360 "You leave youre goode and lawfulle kynge,

Whenne ynne adversitye;
Lyke mee, untoe the true cause stycke,
And for the true cause dye.”



[ocr errors]




Thorowe the halle the belle han sounde;
Byelecoyle doe the grave beseeme;
The ealdermenne doe sytte arounde,
Ande snoffelle oppe the cheorte steeme.
Lyche asses wylde ynne desarte waste

Swotelye the morneynge ayre doe taste.
Syche coyne thie ate; the minstrels plaie,
The dynne of angelles doe theie keepe;
Heie stylle; the guestes ha ne to saie,
Butte nodde yer thankes ande falle aslape.
Thos echone daie bee I to deene,
Gyf Rowley, Iscamm, or Tyb Gorges be ne seene.


[ocr errors]

GEORGE CRABBE (1754-1832)


BOOK I Fled are those times, when, in harmonious strains The rustic poet praised his native plains:



Beneath an ancient bridge the straitened flood
Rolls through its sloping banks of slimy mud;
Near it a sunken boat resists the tide,
That frets and hurries to th' opposing side;
The rushes sharp, that on the borders grow,
Bend their brown flow'rets to the stream below,
Impure in all its course, in all its progress slow:
Here a grave Flora scarcely deigns to bloom,
Nor wears a rosy blush, nor sheds perfume:
The few dull flowers that o'er the place are spread
Partake the nature of their fenny bed;
Here on its wiry stem, in rigid bloom,
Grows the salt lavender that lacks perfume:
Here the dwarf sallows creep, the septfoil harsh,
And the soft slimy mallow of the marsh;
Low on the ear the distant billows sound,
And just in view appears their stony bound;
No hedge nor tree conceals the glowing sun;
Birds, save a wat’ry tribe, the district shun,
Nor chirp among the reeds where bitter waters run.

[ocr errors]




No shepherds now, in smooth alternate verse,
Their country's beauty, or their nymph’s rehearse;
Yet still for these we frame the tender strain, II
Still in our lays fond Corydons complain,
And shepherds' boys their amorous pains reveal,
The only pains, alas! they never feel.

On Mincio's banks, in Cæsar's bounteous reign,
If Tityrus found the golden age again,
Must sleepy bards the flattering dream prolong,
Mechanic echoes of the Mantuan song?
From Truth and Nature shall we widely stray,
Where Virgil, not where fancy, leads the way?

* No; cast by fortune on a frowning coast, 49 Which neither groves nor happy valleys boast; Where other cares than those the Muse relates, And other shepherds dwell with other mates; By such examples taught, I paint the cot, As Truth will paint it and as bards will not: Nor you, ye poor, of lettered scorn complain,

you the smoothest song is smooth in vain; O'ercome by labour, and bowed down by time, Feel you the barren flattery of a rhyme ? Can poets soothe you, when you pine for bread, By winding myrtles round your ruin'd shed ? — Can their light tales your weighty griefs o'er

power, Or glad with airy mirth the toilsome hour? Lo! where the heath, with withering brake grown

o'er, Lends the light turf that warms the neighbouring

poor; From thence a length of burning sand appears, Where the thin harvest waves its withered ears; Rank weeds, that every art and care defy, Reign o'er the land and rob the blighted rye: There thistles stretch their prickly arms afar, And to the ragged infant threaten war; 70 There poppies nodding, mock the hope of toil; There the blue bugloss paints the sterile soil; Hardy and high, above the slender sheaf, The slimy mallow waves her silky leaf; O'er the young shoot the charlock throws a shade, And clasping tares cling round the sickly blade; With mingled tints the rocky coasts abound, And a sad splendour vainly shines around.


Again, the country was enclosed, a wide And sandy road has banks on either side; Where, lo! a hollow on the left appeared, And there a gipsy tribe their tent had rcared; 'Twas open spread, to catch the morning sun, And they had now their early meal begun, When two brown boys just left their grassy

seat, The early traveller with their prayers to greet: While yet Orlando held his pence in hand, He saw their sister on her duty stand; 150 Some twelve years old, demure, affected, sly, Prepared the force of early powers to try; Sudden a look of languor he descries, And well-feigned apprehension in her eyes; Trained but yet savage, in her speaking face He marked the features of her vagrant race; When a light laugh and roguish leer expressed The vice implanted in her youthful breast: Forth from the tent her elder brother came, Who seemed offended, yet forbore to blame 160 The young designer, but could only trace The looks of pity in the traveller's face: Within, the father, who from fences nigh Had brought the fuel for the fire's supply, Watched now the feeble blaze, and stood dejected

by. On ragged rug, just borrowed from the bed, And by the hand of coarse indulgence fed, In dirty patchwork negligently dressed, Reclined the wife, an infant at her breast; In her wild face some touch of grace remained, Of vigour palsied and of beauty stained; 171 Her bloodshot eyes on her unheeding mate

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Were wrathful turned, and seemed her wants to

state, Cursing his tardy aid — her mother there With gipsy-state engrossed the only chair; Solemn and dull her look; with such she stands, And reads the milk-maid's fortune in her hands, Tracing the lines of life; assumed through years, Each feature now the steady falsehood wears; With hard and savage eye she views the food, And grudging pinches their intruding brood; 181 Last in the group, the worn-out grandsire sits Neglected, lost, and living but by fits: Useless, despised, his worthless labours done, And half protected by the vicious son, Who half supports him; he with heavy glance Views the young ruffians who around him dance; And, by the sadness in his face, appears To trace the progress of their future years: 189 Through what strange course of misery, vice, deceit, Must wildly wander each unpractised cheat ! What shame and grief, what punishment and pain, Sport of fierce passions, must each child sustain – Ere they like him approach their latter end, Without a hope, a comfort, or a friend!

[blocks in formation]

WILLIAM BLAKE (1757-1827)


And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O nol never can it be!
Never, never can it be!



[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire ?
What the hand dare seize the fire ?



[blocks in formation]


What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain ? What the anvil ? what dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

A Robin Redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage;
A dove-house filled with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell through all its regions.
A dog starved at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state;
A game-cock clipped and armed for fight
Doth the rising sun affright;
A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Every wolf's and lion's howl
Raises from hell a human soul;
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear;
A skylark wounded on the wing
Doth make a cherub cease to sing.



When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?



Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be beloved by men;
He who the ox to wrath has moved
Shall never be by woman loved;
He who shall train the horse to war



« PreviousContinue »