« AnteriorContinuar »
Enter a Scout.
Scout. Put up thy book, and bag, and wizard's wand,
Wiz. What thou woud'st tell me, tell me in plain words.
Scout. Well, plainly then, Ethwald, who thought full surely
Wiz. Who told thee this ?
Scout. Mine eyes have seen them. Scarcely three miles off,
They follow close behind. (Enter a crowd of women, young and old; some leading children and carrying
infants on their backs or in their arms, others carrying bundles and pieces of
Wiz. Who are ye, wretched women,
First Wom. Nought but the friendly shelter of your cave,
Wiz. And are the armies there so near your dwellings ?
First Wom. Ay, round them, in them the loud battle clangs.
Second Wom. Ay, woe is me! our warm and cheerful hearths
Old Wom. Ah woe is me! those yellow thatched roofs,
Young Wom. Ah woe is me! my little helpless babos !
No cheerful blazing fire and seething pot
Third Wom. Alack, alack! of all my goodly stuff
(Enter a Young Man leading in an Idiot.)
(running up to him.)
Young Man. To save our idiot brother, see'st thou here?
Young Wom. Well hast thou done! poor helpless Balderkin!
(Enter Man carrying an Old Man on his back.)
Wiz. True, good folks ;
[Exeunt, all following the Wizard into the inner cave.
SCENE II. A field of battle strewed with slain, and some people seen upon the background searching
amongst the dead bodies.
Enter Hereulf and Ethelbert.
(stopping short and holding up his hands.)
Eth. (not attending to him, and after gazing for some time on the field.)
Ere your fond mothers ceas'd to tend you still,
Her. Ay, so it needs must be, since Mollo's son
(they withdraw to one side.)
Third Cairl. Yes, I have seen that which no other sight
Third Cairl. What voice is that? it comes from some one near.
First Cairl. See, yon stretch'd body moves its bloody hand : It must be him. (Voice again.) Baldwick !
Third Cairl (going up to the body from whence the voice came.) Who art thou, wretched man ? I know thee not.
Voice. Ah, but thou dost! I have sat by thy fire,
Third Cairl. Good holy saints ! and art thou Athelbald ?
Voice. If thou hast any love of mercy in thee,
Third Cairl. I will, good Athelbald. Alack the day !
(Turns the soldier on his face.) Voice. I thank thee, friend, farewell ! (dies)
Third Cairl. Farewell ! farewell ! a merry soul thou wert, And sweet thy ploughman's whistle in our fields.
Second Cairl. (starting with horror.) Good heaven forfend ! it moves! First Cairl. What dost thou see?
Second Cairl. Look on that bloody corse, so smear'd and mangled, That it has lost all form of what it was ; It moves ! it moves! there is life in it still,
First Cairl. Methought it spoke, but faint and low the sound.
Third Cairl. Ha! did'st thou hear a voice ? we'll go to it. Who art thou ? oh! who art thou ? (to u fallen warrior, who nukes signs
to him to pull something from his breast.) Yes, from thy breast; I understand the sign.
(pulling out a band or ’kerchief from his breast.) It is some maiden's pledge.
Fallen Warrior. (making signs.) Upon mine arm.
Third Cairl. Alack, alack ! he thinks of some sad maid !
(Enter a woman wailing and wringing her hands. Second Carri. Ha! who comes wailing here ?
Third Cairl. Some wretched mother who has lost her son.
Mother. I rear'd him like a little playful kid,
Second Cairl. Be comforted, good mother.
Mother. What say'st thou to me ? knowest thou where he lies? If thou hast kindness in thee tell me truly; For dead or living still he is mine all, And let me have him. Third Cairl. (aside to Second.) Send her away, good friend ; I know
her now. Her boy is lying with the farther dead, Like a felld sapling ; lead her from the field.
(Exeunt Mother and Second Cairl.
(Enter a young woman searching distractedly amongst the dead.)
Until these very eyes have seen thee dead,
Third Cairl. Ah, gentle maiden ! many a maiden's love,
Young Woman. I know, too true it is, but none like him.
Thy mated love, e'en with the grisly dead. (Searching again amongst the dead she perceives the band round the arm of the
fallen warrior, and uttering a loud shriek falls senseless upon the ground. The Cairls run to her assistance, with Ethelbert and Hereulf, who come forward from the place they had withdrawn to; Hereulf clenching his hand and muttering curses upon Mollo's son, as he crosses the stage.
The scene closes.)
15.—THE CONVERSION OF ETHELBERT.
(From The Penny Magazine.') Bede," the Venerable,” without whose writings we should know next to nothing of the early history of our church, or of the first introduction of Christianity into the island, was born about the year 675 on the lands which afterwards belonged to the two abbeys of St. Peter and St. Paul in the bishopric of Durham, near the mouth of the river Tyne. At seven years of age he was taken into the monastery of St. Peter at Jarrow to be educated for a priest. After twelve years of diligent study he took deacon's orders, and eleven years after that period, or when he was in his thirtieth year, he was ordained a priest. His fame now reached Rome, and be was invited by Pope Sergius to repair to that city in order to assist in the promulgation of certain points of ecclesiastical discipline. But Bede, loving study better than travel, and being strongly attached to his own cell and quiet monastery declined the invitation, and remained at Jarrow to make himself master of all the learning which was then accessible, and to write the ecclesiastical history of the English nation. The materials within his reach consisted of a few chronicles, and a few annals preserved in different religious houses ; but he had also access to living prelates and other churchmen, some of whom had been principal actors in a part of the events and scenes he had to describe, while others inherited from their own fathers all the traditional lore relating to the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon people, and more particularly of that part of the nation which was settled to the north of the Humber. Hence we find that Bede's narrative is fullest when he treats of the introduction and establishment of Christianity in Northumbria. He lived so near to the time that his history has much of the charm of a contemporary narrative. The date of his birth was within eighty years after the first landing of Augustin, and within half a century of the date assigned to the conversion of the Northumbrian king Edwin. He must have known, in his youth, persons who were living at the time of that conversion, and many that were alive when King Oswald revived the Christian faith and brought the monks from Iona to Lindisfarne. He published his ecclesiastical history (if we may apply the term publication to the very limited means which then existed of making a literary work known) about the year 734 : but previously to this he had written and put forth many other books and treatis whole life indeed appears to have been absorbed by his literary labours.