« PreviousContinue »
Against that overcoming light) Was then reviewed, and prompt word given. That to what place soever fled 'He should be seized, alive or dead.
The troop of horse had gamed the height Where Francis stood in open sight. They hem him round—" Behold the proof, Behold the ensign in his hand! He did not arm, he walked aloof 1 For why?—to save his father's land;— Worst traitor of them all is he, A traitor dark and cowardly!"
"I am no traitor," Francis said, "Though this unhappy freight I bear; It weakens me, my heart hath bled Till it is weak—but you, beware, Nor do a suffermg spirit wrong, Whose self-reproaches are too strong 1" At this he from the beaten road Retreated towards a brake of thorn, Which like a place of 'vantage showed; And there stood bravely, though forlorn. In self-defence with warlike brow He stood,—nor weaponless was now; He from a soldier's hand had snatched A spear,—and with his eyes he watched Their motions, turning round and round: His weaker hand the banner held; And straight, by savage zeal impelled, Forth rushed a pikeman, as if he. Not without harsh indignity, Would seize the same:—instinctively— To smite the offender—with his lance Did Francis from the brake advance
But, from behind, a treacherous wound,
Unfeeling, brought him to the ground,
A mortal stroke:—oh, grief to tell!
Thus, thus, the noble Francis fell:
There did he lie of breath forsaken;
The banner from his grasp was taken,
And borne exultingly away;
And the body was left on the ground where it lay.
Two days, as many nights, he slept
Apart, some little space, was made
But Emily hath raised her head,
Thou spirit, whose angelic hand
Say, spirit! whither hath she fled
'Tis done;—despoil and desolation
That used to spread its boughs, and ring
With the sweet birds' carolling.
Behold her, like a virgin queen,
Neglecting in imperial state
These outward images of fate,
And carrying inward a serene
And perfect sway, through many a thought
Of chance and change, that hath been brought
To the subjection of a holy,
Though stern and rigorous, melancholy!
The like authority, with grace
Of awfulness, is in her face,—
There hath she fixed it; yet it seems
To o'ershadow by no native right
That face• which cannot lose the gleams,
Lose utterly the tender gleams •
Of gentleness and meek delight,
And loving-kindness ever bright:.
Such is her sovereign mien ;—her drees
(A vest, with woollen cincture tied,
A hood of mountain-wool undyed)
Is homely,—fashioned to express
A wandering pilgrim's humbleness.
And she hath wandered, long and far,