Sidor som bilder

But that a ribald King and Court
Bade him toil on, to make them sport;
Demanded for their niggard pay,
Fit for their souls, a looser lay,
Licentious satire, song, and play;
The world defrauded of the high design,
Profaned the God-given strength, and marr'd the lofty

Warm'd by such names, well may we then,
Though dwindled sons of little men,
Essay to break a feeble lance
In the fair fields of old romance ;
Or seek the moated castle's cell,
Where long through talisman and spell,
While tyrants ruled, and damsels wept,
Thy Genius, Chivalry, hath slept:
There sound the harpings of the North,
Till he awake and sally forth,
On venturous quest to prick again,
In all his arıns, with all his train,
Shield, lance, and brand, and plume and scarf,
Fay, giant, dragon, squire, and dwarf,
And wizard, with his wand of might,
And errant maid on palfrey white.
Around the Genius weave their spells,
Pure Love, who scarce his passion tells;
Mystery, half veild and half reveald ;
And Honour, with his spotless shield;

words by King Charles II., my little salary ill paid, and no pros pect of a future subsistence, I was then discouraged in the begin ning of my attempt; and now age has overtaken me, and want. a more insufferable evil, through the change of the times, has wholly disabled me.”

Attention, with fix'd eye; and Fear,
That loves the tale she shrinks to hear;
And gentle Courtesy and Faith,
Unchanged by sufferings, time, or death;
And Valour, lion-mettled lord,
Leaning upon his own good sword.

Well has thy fair achievement shown,
A worthy meed may thus be won;
Ytene's' oaks- beneath whose shade
Their theme the merry minstrels made,
Of Asca part, and Bevis bold, a
And that Red King, who, while of old,

· The New Forest in Hampshire, anciently so called.

· The “ History of Bevis of Hampton” is abridged by my friend Mr. George Ellis, with that liveliness which extracts amusement even out of the most rude and unpromising of our old tales of chivalry. Ascapart, a most important personage in the romance. is thus described in an extract :

“ This geaunt was mighty and strong,
And full thirty foot was long.
He was bristled like a sow;
A foot he had between each brow;
His lips were great, and hung aside ;
His eyen were hollow, his mouth was wide;
Lothly he was to look on than,
And liker a devil than a man.
His staff was a young oak,
Hard and heavy was his stroke.”

Specimens of Melrical Romances, vol. ii. p. 136, I am happy to say, that the memory of Sir Bevis is still fragrant in his town of Southampton; the gate of which is sentineled by the effigies of that doughty knight-crrant and his gigantic associate.

William Rufus.

Through Boldrewood the chase he led,
By his loved huntsman's arrow bled-
Ytene's oaks have heard again
Renew'd such legendary strain;
For thou hast sung, how He of Gaul,
That Amidas so famed in hall,
For Oriana, foil'd in fight
The Necromancer's felon might;
And well in modern verse hast wove
Partenopex's mystic love:'
Hear, then, attentive to my lay,
A knightly tale of Albion's elder day.

*[Partenopex de Blois, a poem, by W. S. Rose, Esq., was pube lished in 1808. — E..]

[ocr errors]




Day set on Norham's castled steep,'
And Tweed's fair river, broad and deep,

And Cheviot's mountains lone :
The battled towers, the donjon keep,"

See Appendix. Note C. * It is perhaps unnecessary to remind my readers, that the donjon, in its proper signification, means the strongest part of a feudal castle; a high square tower, with walls of tremendous thickness, situated in the centre of the other buildings, from which, however, it was usually detached. Here, in case of the outward defences being gained, the garrison retreated to make their last stand. The donjon contained the great hall, and principal rooms of state for solemn occasions, and also the prison of the fortress; from which last circumstance we derive the modern and restricted use of the word dungeon. Ducange (voce DUNJO) conjectures plausibly, that the name is derived from these keeps being usually built upon a hill, which in Celtic is called Dun. Borlase supposes the word came from the darkness of the apartments in these towers, which were thence figuratively called Dungeons; thus deriving the ancient word from the modern application of it.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »