Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE CRUSADE.

King Richard the l'irst, celebrated for his achievements in the

Crusades, was no less distinguished for his patronage of the Provencial minstrels, and his own compositions in their species of poetry: Returning from one of his expeditions in the Holy Land, in disguise, he was imprisoned in a castle of Leopold Duke of Austria. His favourite minstrel, Blondel de Nesle, having traversed all Germany in search of his master, at length came to a castle, in which he found there was only one prisoner, and whose name was unknown. Suspecting that he had made the desired discovery, he seated himself under a window of the prisoner's apartment, and began a song, or ode, which the king and himself had formerly composed together. When the prisoner, who was King Richard, heard the song, he knew that Blondel must be the singer; and when Blondel paused about the middle, the king began the remainder and completed it. The fol. lowing Ode is supposed to be this joint composition of the Minstrel and King Richard.

W.

Bound for holy Palestine,
Nimbly we brush'd the level brine,
All in azure steel array'd;
O'er the wave our weapons play'd,
And made the dancing billows glow;
High upon the trophied prow,
Many a warrior minstrel swung
His sounding harp, and boldly sung-

Syrian virgins, wail and weep,
English Richard ploughs the deep!
Tremble, watchmen, as ye spy,
From distant towers, with anxious eye,
The radiant range of shield and lance
Down Damascus' hills advance:

[merged small][ocr errors]

From Sion's turrets as afar
Ye ken the march of Europe's war!
Saladin, thou paynim king,
From Albion's isle revenge we bring !
On Acon's * spiry citadel,
Though to the gale thy banners swell,
Pictured with the silver moon;
England shall end thy glory soon!
In vain, to break our firm array,
Thy brazen drums hoarse discord bray :
Those sounds our rising fury fan :
English Richard in the van,
On to victory we go,
A vaunting infidel the foe.'

Blondel led the tuneful band,
And swept the wire with glowing hand.
Cyprus, from her rocky mound,
And Crete, with piny verdure crown'd,
Far along the smiling main
Echoed the prophetic strain.

Soon we kiss'd the sacred earth
That gave a murder'd Saviour birth;
Then, with ardour fresh endued,
Thus the solemn song renew'd.

Lo, the toilsome voyage pass’d,
Heaven's favour'd hills appear at last !
Object of our holy vow,
We tread the Tyrian valleys now.
From Carmel's almond-shaded steep
We feel the cheering fragrance creep :
O’er Engaddi's shrubs of balm

Waves the date-empurpled palm,
* A city and fortress of Syria, now called St. John d'Acre.

[ocr errors]

2

See Lebanon's aspiring head
Wide his immortal umbrage spread!'
Hail, Calvary, thou mountain hoar,
Wet with our Redeemer's gore !
Ye trampled tombs, ye fanes forlorn,
Ye stones, by tears of pilgrims worn;
Your ravish'd honours to restore,
Fearless we climb this hostile shore !
And thou, the sepulchre of God!
By mocking pagans rudely trod,
Bereft of every awful rite,
And quench'd thy lamps that beam'd so bright;
For thee, from Britain's distant coast,
Lo, Richard leads his faithful host!
Aloft in his heroic hand,
Blazing, like the beacon's brand,
O'er the far affrighted fields,
Resistless Kaliburn * he wields.
Proud Saracen, pollute no more
The shrines by martyrs built of yore!
From each wild mountain's trackless crown
In vain thy gloomy castles frown:
Thy battering engines, huge and high,
In vain our steel-clad steeds defy;
And, rolling in terrific state,
On giant wheels harsh thunders grate.
When eve has hush'd the buzzing camp,
Amid the moonlight vapours damp,

[ocr errors]

* Kalibarn is the sword of King Arthur; whicb, as the monkish historians say, came into the possession of Richard the First; and was given by that monarch, in the crusades, to Tancred, King of Sicily, as a royal present of inestimable value, about the year 1190. See Ode, The Grave of King Arthur.'

w.

Thy necromantic forms in vain
Haunt us on the tented plain:
We bid those spectre shapes avaunt,
Ashtaroth and Termagaunt;
With many a demon, pale of hue,
Doom'd to drink the bitter dew
That drops from Macon's sooty tree,
Mid the dread grove of ebony.
Nor magic charms nor fiends of hell
The Christian holy courage quell.

Salem, in ancient majesty
Arise, and lift thee to the sky!
Soon on thy battlements divine
Shall wave the badge of Constantine.
Ye Barons, to the sun unfold
Our Cross with crimson wove and gold !

T. WARTON.

6

A NAVAL ODE.

Ye mariners of England !
That guard our native seas :
Whose flag has braved, a thousand years,
The battle and the breeze!
Your glorious standard launch again
To match another foe!
And sweep through the deep,
While the stormy tempests blow;
While the battle rages loud and long,
And the stormy tempests blow.
The spirits of your fathers
Shall start from every wave!
For the deck it was their field of fame,
And Ocean was their grave :

Where Blake and mighty Nelson fell
Your manly hearts shall glow,
As ye sweep through the deep,
While the stormy tempests blow;
While the battle rages loud and long,
And the stormy tempests blow.

Britannia needs no bulwark,
No towers along the steep;
Her march is on the mountain waves,
Her home is on the deep.
With thunders from her native oak
She quells the floods below
As they roar on the shore,
When the stormy tempests blow;
When the battle rages loud and long,
And the stormy tempests blow.

The meteor flag of England
Shall yet terrific burn,
Till danger's troubled night depart,
And the star of peace return.
Then, then, ye Ocean Warriors !
Our song and feast shall flow
To the fame of your name,
When the storm has ceased to blow;
When the fiery fight is heard no more,
And the storm has ceased to blow.

CAMPBELL.

« PreviousContinue »