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BEFORE THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS.
See, valiant war-friends, yonder be the first, the last, and all
these would conquer you, and dread no fur
ther foe. They are no stouter than the brute, whom we did hence exile : Nor stronger than the sturdy Danes, our victory erewhile:
for weeds at Normandy by this in porches grow :) Meaning, that they had so exhausted their country (Normandy) by the forces they had drafted from it already, that its cities were left desolate and uninhabited. The expression is awkward; but the idea is forcible, and not unlike what Thomson says of the effects of the plague :
Empty the streets, with uncouth verdure clad ;
Summer, 1. 1060.
Not Saxony could once contain, or scarce the world beside, Our fathers, who did sway by sword where listed them to
bide: Then do not ye degenerate, take courage by descent, And by their burials, not abode, their force and flight pre
vent. Ye have in hand your country's cause, a conquest they pre
tend, Which (were ye not the same ye be) even cowards would de
fend. I grant that part of us are fled and linked to the foe, And glad I am our army is of traitors cleared so: Yea pardon hath he to depart that stayeth mal-content*: I prize the mind above the man, like zeal hath like event. Yet truth it is, no well or ill this island ever had, But through the well or ill support of subjects good or bad: Not Cæsar, Hengest, Swayn, or now (which ne'ertheless shall
fail) The Norman bastard, Albion true, did, could, or can prevail. But to be self-false in this isle a self-foe ever is, Yet wot I, never traitor did his treason's stipend miss. Shrink who will shrink, let armour's weight press down the
burd'ned earth, My foes, with wond'ring eyes shall see I over-prize my death. . But since ye all (for all, I hope, alike affected be, Your wives, your children, lives, and land, from servitude to
* Yea pardon hath he to depart, &c.] Thus Henry the Fifth to, his soldiers :
don't wish one more: Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host, That he which hath no stomach to this fight Let him depart.
Are armed both in show and zeal, then gloriously contend, To win and wear the home-brought spoils, of victory the end. Let not the Skinner's daughter son possess what he pre
tends, He lives to die a noble death that life for freedom spends.
DUKE WILLIAM’S SPEECH.
To live upon or lie within this is my ground or grave
ye. Then worthy your progenitors ye seed of Priam's son Exploit this business, Rollons do that which we wish be done. Three people have as many times got and foregone this shore, It resteth now ye conquer it not to be conquer'd more:
this is my ground or grave.] See the speech of Alric in Claudian, on invading Italy :
Hanc ego vel victor regno, vel morte tenebo
De Bell. Gent. 530.
For Norman and the Saxon blood conjoining, as it may,
fence, Yea, even your courages divine a conquest not to fail. Hope then your duke doth prophecy, and in that hope pre
vail, A people brave, a terrene heaven, both objects worth your
wars, Shall be the prizes of your prow’ss, and mount your fame
to stars. Let not a traitor's perjur'd son extrude us from our right: He dies to live a famous life, that doth for conquest fight.
Albion's England, by W. Warner,
Book 1V. Chap. 22.
BEFORE THE BATTLE OF BOSWORTH.
If all the camp prove traitors to my lord,
Rosworth Field, by Sir John Beaumont,