Page images



Ah, County Guy! the hour is nigh,

The sun has left the lea,
The orange flower perfumes the bower,

The breeze is on the sea.
The lark, his lay who trilled all day,

Sits hushed his partner nigh;
Breeze, bird and flower confess the hour

But where is County Guy ?
The village maid steals through the shade,

Her shepherd's suit to hear;
To beauty shy, by lattice high,

Sings high-born Cavalier.
The star of Love, all stars above,

Now reigns o'er earth and sky;
And high and low the influence know-

But where is County Guy?



Old Sword ! tho' dim and rusted

Be now thy sheeny blade,
Thy glittering edge encrusted

With cankers Time hath made;
Yet once around thee swelled the cry

Of triumph's fierce delight,
The shoutings of the victory,

The thunders of the fight!

Tho' age hath past upon thee

With still corroding breath, Yet once streamed redly on thee

The purpling tide of death: What time amid the war of foes

The dastard's cheek grew pale, As through the feudal field arose

The ringing of the mail.

Old Sword ! what arm hath wielded

Thy richly gleaming brand,
'Mid Iordly forms who shielded

The maidens of their land?
And who hath cloven his foes in wrath

With thy puissant fire,
And scattered in his perilous path

The victims of his ire ?

Old Sword! whose fingers clasped thee

Around thy carved hilt?
And with that hand which grasped thee

What heroes' blood was spilt;
When fearlessly, with open hearts,

And lance to lance opposed,
Beneath the shade of barbed darts

The dark-eyed warriors closed

Old Sword ! I would not burnish

Thy venerable rust,
Nor sweep away the tarnish

Of darkness and of dust!
Lie there, in slow and still decay,

Unfamed in olden rhyine,
The relic of a former day,

A wreck of ancient time!




This spirited poem is said to have no foundation in fact, I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and he;

I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three; Good speed !” cried the watch, as the gate-bolts un

“Speed !" echoed the wall to us galloping through;

Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest,
And into the midnight we galloped abreast.

80 How They Brought the Good News from Ghent.

Not a word to each other; we kept the great pace
Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our place;
I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight,
Then shortened each stirrup, and set the pique right,
Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chained slacker the bit,
Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.

'Twas moonset at starting; but while we drew near
Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear;
At Boom, a great yellow star came out to see;
At Duffeld, 'twas morning as plain as could be;
And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the half-

So Joris broke silence with, “Yet there is time !"

At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun,
And against him the cattle stood black every one,
To stare through the mist at us galloping past,
And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last,
With resolute shoulders each butting away
The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray:

And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track; And one eye's black intelligence,

,-ever that glance O’er its white edge at me, his own master, askance! And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye and anon His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on.

By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Joris, “Stay spur!
Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her,
We'll remember at Aix-for one heard the quick

wheeze Of her chest, saw the stretched neck, and staggering

knees, And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank, As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.

So we were left galloping, Joris and I,
Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;
The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh,
'Neath our feet broke the brittle bright stubble like

Till over by Dalhem a dome-spire sprang white,
And “Gallop,” cries Joris, " for Aix is in sight!

“How they'll greet us !” and all in a moment his roan

Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone;
And there was my Roland, to bear the whole weight
Of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate,
With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim,
And with circles of red for his eye-sockets' rim.
Then I cast my'loose buff-coat, each holster let fall,
Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,
Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear,
Called my Roland his pet name, my horse without peer;
Clapped my hands, laughed and sang, any noise, bad or

Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.
And all I remember is, friends flocking round
As I sate with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground,
And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine,
As I poured down his throat our last measure of wine,
Which (the burgesses voted by common consent)
Was no more than his due who brought good news from




For many, many days together

The wind blew steady from the east; For many days hot grew the weather,

About the time of our Lady's feast. For many days we rode together,

Yet met we neither friend nor foe;
Hotter and clearer grew the weather,

Steadily did the east-wind blow.
We saw the trees in the hot, bright weather,

Clear-cut, with shadows very black,
As freely we rode on together

With helms unlaced and bridles slack.

And often as we rode together,

We, looking down the green-banked stream, Saw flowers in the sunny weather,

And saw the bubble-making bream.

And in the night lay down together,

And hung above our heads the rood,
Or watched night-long in the dewy weather,

The while the moon did watch the wood.

Our spears stood bright and thick together,

Straight out the banners streamed behind, As we galloped on in the sunny weather,

With faces turned towards the wind.

Down sank our threescore spears together,

As thick we saw the pagans ride;
His eager face in the clear fresh weather

Shone out that last time by my side.

Up the sweep of the bridge we dashed together,

It rocked to the crash of the meeting spears, Down rained the buds of the dear spring weather, The elm-tree flowers fell like tears.

There, as we rolled and writhed together,

I threw my arms above my head,
For close by my side, in the lovely weather,

I saw him reel and fall back dead.

I and the slayer met together,

He waited the death-stroke there in his place, With thoughts of death, in the lovely weather

Gapingly mazed at my maddened face.

Madly I fought as we fought together;

In vain: the little Christian band The

pagans drowned, as in stormy weather, The river drowns low-lying land.

They bound my blood-stained hands together,

They bound his corpse to nod by my side: Then on we rode, in the bright March weather,

With clash of cymbals did we ride.

We ride no more, no more together;

My prison-bars are thick and strong, I take no heed of any weather,

The sweet Saints grant I live not long.

« PreviousContinue »