Page images





See, valiant war-friends, yonder be the first, the last, and all
The agents of our enemies, they henceforth cannot call
Supplies; for weeds at Normandy by this in porches grow*:

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 ;
Into the worst of deserts sudden turn'd
The cheerful haunt of men.

Summer, 1. 1060.

[blocks in formation]

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.


To live upon or lie within this is my ground or grave
(My loving soldiers), one of twain your duke resolves to have.
Nor be ye Normans now to seek in what you should be stout,
Ye come amidst the English pikes to hew your honours out,
Ye come to win the same by lance, that is your own by law;
Ye come, I say, in righteous war revenging swords to draw.
Howbeit of more hardy foes no passed flight hath sped ye,
Since Rollo to your now-abode with bands victorious led

Or Turchus, son of Troilus, in Scythian Fazo bred

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
Victus humum,

De Bell. Gent. 530.


For Norman and the Saxon blood conjoining, as it may,
From that consorted seed the crown shall never pass away.
Before us are our armed foes, behind us are the seas,
On either side the foe hath holds of succour and for ease :
But that advantage shall return their disadvantage thus,
If ye observe no shore is left the which may

And so hold out amidst the rough whilst they haul in for lee,
Whereas, whilst men securely sail, not seldom shipwrecks be,
What should I cite your passed acts, or tediously incense
To present arms; your faces show your hearts conceive of-

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.



If all the camp prove traitors to my lord,
Shall spotless Norfolk falsify his word?
Mine oath is past, I swore t' uphold his crown,
And that shall swim, or I with it will drown.
It is too late now to dispute the right,
Dare any tongue, since York spread forth his light,
Northumberland, or Buckingham defame,
Two valiant Cliffords, Roos, or Beaumont's name,
Because they in the weaker quarrel die?
They had the king with them, and so have I.
But ev'ry eye the face of Richard shuns,
For that foul murder of his brother's sons:
Yet laws of knighthood gave me not a sword
To strike at him, whom all with joint accord
Have made my prince, to whom I tribute bring:
I hate his vices, but adore the king.
Victorious Edward, if thy soul can hear
Thy servant Howard, I devoutly swear,
That to have sav'd thy children from that day,
My hopes on earth should willingly decay;
Would Gloucester then my perfect faith had tried,
And made two graves, when noble Hastings died.

Rosworth Field, by Sir John Beaumont,

p. 7.

« PreviousContinue »