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WHAT brave chief shall head the forces, Or spring such a gulf as divides her from Where the red-cross legions gather ?
thee, Best of horsemen, best of horses,
Must dare some high deed, by which all Highest bead and fairest feather.
men may see
His ambition is backed by his hie chivalrie. Ask not Austria why, ʼmidst princes, Still her banner rises highest;
• Therefore thus speaks my lady,' the fair Ask as well the strong-wing'd eagle
page be said, Wby to heaven he soars the nighest. And the knight lowly louted with hand and
with head: • Fling aside the good armor in which thou
And don thou this weed of her night-gear THE BLOODY VEST
For a hauberk of steel, a kirtle of thread: From Chapter xxvi. * The song of Blondel was, of course, in the Norman language ; but
And charge thus attired, in the tournament the verses which follow express its meaning
dread, and its manner.'
And fight, as thy wont is, where most blood
is shed, 'T was near the fair city of Benevent, And bring honor away, or remain with the When the sun was setting on bough and
dead.' bent, And knights were preparing in bower and Untroubled in his look, and untroubled in tent,
his breast, On the eve of the Baptist's tournament; The knight the weed hath taken, and reWhen in Lincoln green a stripling gent,
verently hath kissed: Well seeming a page by a princess sent, Now blessed be the moment, the messenger Wandered the camp, and, still as he went,
be blest ! Inquired for the Englishman, Thomas à Much honored do I hold me in my lady's Kent.
And say unto my lady, in this dear nightFar hath he fared, and farther must fare,
weed dressed, Till he finds his pavilion nor stately nor To the best armed champion I will not veil rare,
my crest; Little save iron and steel was there:
But if I live and bear me well, 't is her turn And, as lacking the coin to pay armorer's
to take the test.' care,
Here, gentles, ends the foremost fytte of With his sinewy arms to the shoulders the Lay of the Bloody Vest.
bare, The good knight with hammer and file did repair
The Baptist's fair morrow beheld gallant The mail that to-morrow must see him
There was winning of honor, and losing of For the honor of Saint John and his lady
There was hewing with falchions, and
splintering of staves, • Thus speaks my lady,' the page
said The victors won glory, the vanquished won he,
graves, And the knight bent lowly both head and Oh, many a knight there fought bravely knee:
and well, “She is Benevent's Princess so high in Yet one was accounted his peers to excel, degree,
And 't was he whose sole armor on body and And thou art as lowly as knight may well
Seemed the weed of a damsel when bonud He that would climb so lofty a tree,
for her rest.
There were some dealt him wounds, that Sinee by sbame 't is unsullied, though crimwere bloody and sore,
soned with gore. But others respected his plight, and fore Then deep blushed the Princess, yet kissed bore,
she and pressed • It is some oath of honor,' they said, “and The blood-spotted robes to her lips and her I trow,
breast 'T were unknightly to slay him achieving Go tell my true knight, church and cham
ber shall show Then the Prince, for his sake, bade the If I value the blood on this garment or no.'
tournament cease, He flung down his warder, the trumpets And when it was time for the nobles to sung peace;
pass, And the judges declare, and competitors In solemn procession to minster and yield,
mass, That the Knight of the Night-gear was first The first walked the Princess in purple and in the field.
But the blood-besmeared night-robe she The feast it was nigh, and the mass it was wore over all; nigher,
And eke, in the hall, where they all sat at When before the fair Princess low louted a
When she knelt to her father and proffered And delivered a garment unseemly to view,
the wine, With sword-cut and spear-thrust, all hacked Over all her rich robes and state jewels she
and pierced through; All rent and all tattered, all clotted with That wimple unseemly bedabbled with gore.
blood, With foam of the horses, with dust, and Then lords whispered ladies, as well you
with mud; Not the point of that lady's small finger, I And ladies replied, with nod, titter, and ween,
wink: Could have rested on spot was unsullied And the Prince, who in anger and shame bad and clean.
Turned at length to his daughter, and • This token my master, Sir Thomas à spoke with a frown: Kent,
• Now since thou hast published thy folly Restores to the Princess of fair Benevent:
and guilt, He that climbs the tall tree has won right E'en atone with thy hand for the blood to the fruit,
thou hast spilt; He that leaps the wide gulf should prevail Yet sore for your boldness you both will in his suit;
repent, Through life's utmost peril the prize I have When you wander as exiles from fair Benewon,
venti And now must the faitl, of my mistress be shown;
Then out spoke stout Thomas, in hall For she who prompts knights on such dan
where he stood, ger to run,
Exhausted and feeble, but dauntless of Must avoucb his true service in front of the
mood; • The blood that I lost for this daughter of
thine, 'I restore,' says my master, 'the garment I poured forth as freely as flask gives its
wine: And I claim of the Princess to don it in And if for my sake she brooks penance and turn,
blame, For its stains and its rents she should prize Do not doubt I will save her from suffering it the more,
One hour with thee! When sun is set,
One hour with thee !
'SON OF A WITCH'
From Chapter XX. BRING the bowl which you boast,
Fill it up to the brim; 'Tis to him we love most,
And to all who love him, Brave gallants, stand up,
And avaunt ye, base carles ! Were there death in the cup,
Here's a health to King Charles ! Though he wanders through dangers,
Unaided, unknown, Dependent on strangers,
Estranged from his own; Though 't is under our breath
Amidst forfeits and perils, Here's to honor and faith,
And a health to King Charles !
From Chapter XxÝ Son of a witch, Mayst thou die in a ditch, With the butchers who back thy quarrels;
And rot above ground,
While the world shall resound
LINES TO SIR CUTHBERT
Forget your kindness found for all room, In what, though large, seemed still a small
room, Forget my Surtees in a ball-room:
Forget you ? No. Torget your sprightly dumpty-diddles, And beauty tripping to the fiddles, Forget my lovely friends the Liddells :
Forget you ? No.
Ah, poor Louise ! In woody wold
Ah, poor Louise !
VERSES FROM CHRONICLES OF
Published in 1827.
Let poor Louise some succor have !
From The Highland Widow, Chapter ii.
OH, I'm come to the Low Country,
Och, och, ohonochie,
To buy a meal for me.
Long, long may I repine;
And Donald he was mine.
From Chapter xxii. Ere he guessed where he was going, the leech was hurried into the house of the late Oliver Proudtute, from which