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He spake bare truth ; for far and near From every side came noisy swarms Of peasants in their homely gear; And mixed with these to Brancepeth came Grave gentry of estate and name, And captains known for worth in arms: And prayed the earls in self-defence To rise, and prove their innocence. "Rise, noble earls, put forth your might For holy Church, and the people's right 1"
The Norton fixed, at this demand, His eye upon Northumberland, And said, "The minds of men will own No loyal rest while England's crown Remains without an heir, the bait Of strife and factions desperate; Who, paying deadly hate in kind Through all things else, in this can find A mutual hope, a common mind; And plot and pant to overwhelm All ancient honour in the realm. Brave earls 1 to whose heroic veins Our noblest blood is given in trust, To you a suffering State complains, And ye must raise her from the dust. With wishes of still bolder scope On you we look, with dearest hope, Even for our altars, for the prize In heaven, of life that never dies; For the old and holy Church we mourn, And must in joy to her return. Behold 1" and from his son whose stand Was on his right, from that guardian hand He took the banner, and unfurled
The precious folds—" Behold," said he,
Now was the North in arms: they shine
His followers gathering in from Tees,
From Wear, and all the little rills
Concealed among the forked hills—
Seven hundred knights, retainers all
Of Neville, at their master's call
Had sate together in Raby hall!
Such strength that earldom held of yore;
Nor wanted at this time rich store
Of well-appointed chivalry. »
Not loth the sleepy lance to wield,
And greet the old paternal shield,
They heard the summons ; and, furthermore,
Horsemen on foot of each degree,
Unbound by pledge of fealty,
Appeared, with free and open hate
Of novelties in Church and State;
Knight, burgher, yeoman, and esquire;
And Romish priest, in priest's attire.
And thus, in arms, a zealous band
Proceeding under joint command,
To Durham first their course they bear:
And in Saint Cuthbert's ancient seat
Sang mass, and tore the Book of Prayer,
And trod the Bible beneath their feet.
Thence marching southward smooth and free, "They mustered their host at Wetherby, Full sixteen thousand, fair to see;" The choicest warriors of the North! But none for beauty and for worth Like those eight sons—embosoming Determined thoughts—who, in a ring Each with a lance, erect and tall, A falchion, and a buckler small, Stood by their sire, on Clifford-moor,
To guard the standard which he bore.
Who sees him? many see, and one
As shepherds watch a lonely star,
Or mariners the distant light
That guides them on a stormy night
And now upon a chosen plot
Of rising ground, yon heathy spot!
He takes this day his far-off stand,
With breast unmailed, unweaponed hand.
Bold is his aspect; but his eye
Is pregnant with anxiety,
While, like a tutelary power,
He there stands fixed, from hour to hour;
Yet sometimes in more humble guise,
Stretched out upon the ground he lies;
As if it were his only task
Like herdsmen in the sun to bask,
Or by his mantle's help to find
A shelter from the nipping wind:
And thus, with short oblivion blest,
His weary spirits gather rest.
Again he lifts his eyes; and lo!
The pageant glancing to and fro:
And hope is wakened by the sight,
He thence may learn, ere fall of night,
Which way the tide is doomed to flow.
To London were the chieftains bent; But what avails the bold intent? A royal army is gone forth To quell the rising of the North; They march with Dudley at their head, And, in seven days' space, will to York be led! Can such a mighty host be raised Thus suddenly, and brought so near? The earls upon each other gazed; And Neville was oppressed with fear;