« AnteriorContinuar »
“My word? True, I was urged to mince my speech,
Some pledge demanded; but I never gave it. He lies, ihe tadpole spawn of a horse-leech!
Young John o'the Scales, forsooth, presumes to brave it! Poyniz misconceived him then; the Jack must pr
óf injured honour!-Well, if he will have itNo, God forbid ! He feels but as a son : I'll spare him, if he bring not two to one.
“ What ho, Dame Alice! I must start betimes;
My cloak-bags go for Bristol port by Bath: Breakfast and reckoning quick. These go the chimes-
'Tis seven o'clock. À proper man of Gaih! But the fool shares not in his father's crimes.
The horses- I shall walk the footway path-
Was Isolde in his thoughts just now, I wonder?
No: his wrath proved a godsend, a relief,
To the charged welkin ; it absorb'd his grief,
And when mine hostess clear'd away the beef And poised the tankard, “Come, he's play d his part," Thought she; "much good may't do him, bless his heart! “He was half-starved-lost his young appetite
All yesterday—'twas never much to boast ofD'rat them law-books as keeps him up all nighi,
Them unkit things as he reads such a host of !"-" Alice, thy reckoning's there ; thoul't find it right:
That crown for thy brave boys to make the most of
Mine hostess wip'd the first tear from her cheek
That her young guest had shed for many a year. How came it there? Sir Critic, I must speak
My utter, sheer contempt of that half sneer:
In childhood's visions the remembrance dear
Her son, a favorite trooper. by his side
Fell gallantly; two maniy buxom boys, The soldier's legacy, their grandame's pride,
Had won his heart, and oft would leave their toys, To hear him tell how their bold father died.
Add that he gave no trouble, had no choice In food, and spoke all kindly, you 'll discern all The secret of the good dame's love maternal.
"A blessing on thee, too,” old Alice said,
“ Where'er thou goest !- but where now can that be ?' There's somewhat here too deep for my poor head.
What could be in that letter -mercy me!
And he that looks so quiet commonly,
“ Lord send us quiet times when I am gone,
For his boys' sakes. Ah me, that awful fray! No news to trust how things were going on;
Peal after peal of guns the Newbury wayAnd then-no youth but his own father's son
Would have thought on't-1 loved him from that day The letter that my eyes so oft have wetted, To say how his brave comrade was regretted.
“ But sorrow does no good. I'll take a turn
At doing out his room ; 'twill ease my heart.Why, there's that paper, crumpled up to burn;
Depend on't, 'twill explain this sudden start."
When I have leisure, in some future part.
Though his first towering rage was half subdued
By what he then conceived a final parting With an old loving friend, the threaten'd feud
Still kept some well-born indignation smarting, Which forming with the strength of solid food
A substitute for sleep, he strode at parting Like Ajax, the Achaian fleet's protector, Sallying well-victuall'd forth to battle Hector.
He paused upon the Castle Hill; a view
Spacious and rich spread round on every side. Thames to the northward, boldly breaking through
The wooded cliffs that bar him from his bride, Fair, silver-eddying Kennet,--then anew
Rolling far east his deep majestic tide To lay the homage of her added dower Low at the feet of Windsor's regal tower.
" There goest thou," cried he," like a baron brave,
Cleaving thy way for love and loyalty; Thus—but my liege is in his bloody grave,
And Isolde's nought, and can be nought to me. Thames ! I could gaze for ever on thy wave;
But farewell once for all-it may not be. May better times return thy shores to bless, When I lie mouldering in the wilderness !"
Smothering a sigh, he took his onward road,
The remnant of his ire abated quite.
In morning's bright repose regaled his sight;
More wooingly fair park and dwelling white, And in the distance, far as eye could trace, Swell'd into heathery moor and forest-chase.
" How doth that view recall old times and scenes!
Basing's well-timed relief,-my plighted wise, Dear young Elizabeth. By what strange means
Thrives this same puppy-love in times of strife ! A stripling I, -she scarcely in her teens;
Yet the child took in earnest, on my life, My only trinket, and my boyish vow :She must be grown a lovely woman now.
" Gage carried it that day with a high hand.
O'er yonder western ridge we spurr'd all night Through tangling forest, then on level land
Pounced on scared Norton with the morning light. 'St. George, and on !'-his horsemen made no stand;
But ne'er shall I forget the two hours' fight With the foot-levies, resolute and tough; Howbeit, for once we pepper'd them enough.
“How proudly then we enter'd Basing Park,
Reining tired steeds that scarce could keep their feet! 'Twere worth a year of toilsome nights to mark
How, after a brave onslaught, such men greet As Gage and its good lord; from morn till dark
Oft Winchester had drubb'd the lesson meet Into that Norton's hide, (the crop-ear’d vassal!) * An Englishman's own dwelling is his castle.”
“Then the poor womankind! Their guard of honour
Bolted the foremost, in no seamly plight;
Though not much hurt, she was quite ill with fright;
Quarters were fix'd in Basing House that night. How like an angel that young girl behaved ! 'Tis strange—but I was half,
nay, quite enslaved.
“Such temper, thought, and care I witness'd never.
The old one in the tantrums, raging mad With anger, fright, and a small touch of fever,
'Captive io vile malignants !''twas too bad To rave at us, who did our best endeavour,
And took a charge we'd rather not have had.
"Here you, my gentle squire of dames,' said Gage,
Adding some idle compliment or other, 'Be you our scapegoat.' 'Oh ! 'twould fill a page
To count up all the trouble and the pother. At last she fairly put me in a rage.
* Turn from thy ways,' she cried; that child's poor mother Died of sheer grief for her mad husband slain, Warring, like thee, proud boy, in Ahab's train. “Then, when I scarce could gulp a stifled oath,
How the sweet niece's eyes would plead with me! I soothed her, promised no one should be wroth
With the cross-patch : drew out her fund of glee
Laugh'd soundly at the old trot's absurdity;
Were orphans, with not much to love beside:
I've lost all trace of this my early bride. The cross suspicious aunt was plainly loth
To tell their surnames; and, from proper pride, Scorning to train young girls to a bad habit,
I never press'd Élizabeth to blab it.
"She doubtless has forgot me-yet her eye
Had a deep earnestness :- I love but once,'
Some fancied likeness? Visionary dunce !
No matter what, she starts up for the nonce.
"Forward, and put an end to 't!--Well, to-morrow,
Please Heaven, I shail revisit Roundway Down,
Lest I should run to rust when I turn clown.
Who shared that signal conquest for the Crown.
Yon pestilent proud ass will cross my path.
Turns malapert !-apes gentlemanly wrath!
And would ask pardon of this man of lath,
Of Goring's madcaps, what I've said I'll do;
Holds it hilt-deep, and Poyntz shall hear on't too.
To those who wrong their conscience can accrue!-
“Ha! I now see the crest, but little more,
Of the rich woodland ground embosoming deep
Old lion-hearied Bess was wont to keep
The bloodhound's bay, the bugle-echoes sleep,
My Queen! I fain would seat thee in yon hall,
Mann'd by a thousand men of Berkshire mould,
Thrice our own force in siege or sally bold,
Brave Lisle thy castellan--But he is cold,
Of old Shaw House; and in our leisure then
Enact the princely pastimes of Ardenne, • In one sense so. Colonels Lisle, Page, and Thelwall, and their favourite officers, while defending the post of Shaw House at the second battle of Newbury, threw off their buff coats, and charged in their shirt-sleeves,to give the men con i.
Cheer'd by the smiles of lovely high-born maids,
Like Rosalind, 'I hat fatal thought again !
• To set my fancies in this hopeless key.'
To break his reverie-perhaps his shin,
“ Here am I, some adventure to begin,
As poor Orlando ; but a lion's skin
Who knows but some vile ambush-for the loon
Halt, then,---locks, priming, bullets,--all in tune ;
Of Lützen ; and, as I may need thee soon,
To mute material things; the hardy tar
To his bright sword that shared the tug of war--
Forged by rude hands from a mere iron bar.
He call'd me to the front of his proud train,
He said. The forward stripling felt as vain
By a king's hand on stricken battle-plain.
he that ran him through
Ay, by Si. George! a true man's sword and shield
The might of this their battle-word, which steel'd
“I've read it by the watch-fire faint and tired,
At close of many a hard disastrous fight į
My mettle, oft, ere study grew delight,
dence. The first charge was " for the King," the next" for the Queen,” the third for “ Prince Charles ;' and Lisle is reported to have said that he would have gone through the whole Royal Family, if necessary. The defence was as determined as it was successful. The royal cavalry in the rear were surprised and outflanked by the enemy's horse, who crossed the Lamborne at Bagnor, and were roughly handled before Cleveland in some degree retrieved the mishap