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SECLUSION.

SAXON MONASTERIES, AND LIGHTS AND SHADES OF

THE RELIGION.
LANCE, shield, and sword relinquished—at his side
A bead-roll, in his hand a clasped book,

By such examples moved to unbought pains,
Or staff more harmless than a shepherd's crook, The people work like congregated bees;
The war-worn Chieftain quits the world—to hide Eager to build the quiet Fortresses
His thin autumnal locks where Monks abide Where Piety, as they believe, obtains
In cloistered privacy. But not to dwell

From Heaven a general blessing ; timely rains In soft repose he comes. Within his cell,

Or needful sunshine ; prosperous enterprise, Round the decaying trunk of human pride,

Justice and peace :—bold faith! yet also rise At morn, and eve, and midnight's silent hour,

The sacred Structures for less doubtful gains. Do penitential cogitations cling;

The Sensual think with reverence of the palms Like ivy, round some ancient elm, they twine

Which the chaste Votaries seek, beyond the grave; In grisly folds and strictures serpentine;

If penance be redeemable, thence alms
Yet, while they strangle, a fair growth they bring, Flow to the poor, and freedom to the slave ;
For recompence—their own perennial bower.

And if full oft the Sanctuary save
Lives black with guilt, ferocity it calms.

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MISSIONS AND TRAVELS.

METHINKS that to some vacant hermitage
My feet would rather turn—to some dry nook

Not sedentary all: there are who roam
Scooped out of living rock, and near a brook

To scatter seeds of life on barbarous shores ; Hurled down a mountain-cove from stage to stage, Or quit with zealous step their knee-worn floors Yet tempering, for my sight, its bustling rage

To seek the general mart of Christendom; In the soft heaven of a translucent pool;

Whence they, like richly-laden merchants, come

To their beloved cells :—or shall we say
Thence creeping under sylvan arches cool,
Fit haunt of shapes whose glorious equipage

That, like the Red-cross Knight, they urge their way, Would elevate my dreams. A beechen bowl,

To lead in memorable triumph home A maple dish, my furniture should be ;

Truth, their immortal Una ? Babylon, Crisp, yellow leaves my bed; the hooting owl

Learned and wise, hath perished utterly, My night-watch: nor should e'er the crested fowl Nor leaves her Speech one word to aid the sigh From thorp or vill his matins sound for me,

That would lament her;—Memphis, Tyre, are gone Tired of the world and all its industry.

With all their Arts,—but classic lore glides on
By these Religious saved for all posterity.

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ALFRED

But what if One, through grove or flowery mead,
Indulging thus at will the creeping feet
Of a voluptuous indolence, should meet
Thy hovering Shade, O venerable Bede!
The saint, the scholar, from a circle freed
Of toil stupendous, in a hallowed seat
Of learning, where thou heard'st the billows beat
On a wild coast, rough monitors to feed
Perpetual industry. Sublime Recluse !
The recreant soul, that dares to shun the debt
Imposed on human kind, must first forget
Thy diligence, thy unrelaxing use
Of a long life ; and, in the hour of death,
The last dear service of thy passing breath * !

Behold a pupil of the monkish gown,
The pious Alfred, King to Justice dear!
Lord of the harp and liberating spear ;
Mirror of Princes! Indigent Renown
Might range the starry ether for a crown
Equal to his deserts, who, like the year,
Pours forth his bounty, like the day doth cheer,
And awes like night with mercy-tempered frown.
Ease from this noble miser of his time
No moment steals; pain narrows not his cares
Though small his kingdom as a spark or gem,
Of Alfred boasts remote Jerusalem,
And Christian India, through her wide-spread clime,
In sacred converse gifts with Alfred shares.

* He expired dictating the last words of a translation of St. John's Gospel.

* See Note.

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When thy great soul was freed from mortal chains, A PLEASANT music floats along the Mere,
Darling of England ! many a bitter shower From Monks in Ely chanting service high,
Fell on thy tomb; but emulative power

While-as Canùte the King is rowing by: [near, Flowed in thy line through undegenerate veins. “ My Oarsmen,” quoth the mighty King, “ draw The Race of Alfred covet glorious pains

“ That we the sweet song of the Monks may hear !” When dangers threaten, dangers ever new! He listens (all past conquests and all schemes Black tempests bursting, blacker still in view! Of future vanishing like empty dreams) But manly sovereignty its hold retains ;

Heart-touched, and haply not without a tear. The root sincere, the branches bold to strive The Royal Minstrel, ere the choir is still, With the fierce tempest, while, within the round While his free Barge skims the smooth flood along, Of their protection, gentle virtues thrive;

Gives to that rapture an accordant Rhyme*. As oft, ʼmid some green plot of open ground, O suffering Earth! be thankful ; sternest clime Wide as the oak extends its dewy gloom,

And rudest age are subject to the thrill The fostered hyacinths spread their purple bloom. Of heaven-descended Piety and Song.

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INFLUENCE ABUSED.

URGED by Ambition, who with subtlest skill
Changes her means, the Enthusiast as a dupe
Shall soar, and as a hypocrite can stoop,
And turn the instruments of good to ill,
Moulding the credulous people to his will.
Such Dunstan :—from its Benedictine coop
Issues the master Mind, at whose fell swoop
The chaste affections tremble to fulfil
Their purposes. Behold, pre-signified,
The Might of spiritual sway! his thoughts, his

dreams,
Do in the supernatural world abide :
So vaunt a throng of Followers, filled with pride
In what they see of virtues pushed to extremes,
And sorceries of talent misapplied.

THE NORMAN CONQUEST.
The woman-hearted Confessor prepares
The evanescence of the Saxon line.
Hark! 'tis the tolling Curfew !the stars shine ;
But of the lights that cherish household cares
And festive gladness, burns not one that dares
To twinkle after that dull stroke of thine,
Emblem and instrument, from Thames to Tyne,
Of force that daunts, and cunning that ensnares !
Yet as the terrors of the lordly bell,
That quench, from hut to palace, lamps and fires,
Touch not the tapers of the sacred quires;
Even so a thraldom, studious to expel
Old laws, and ancient customs to derange,
To Creed or Ritual brings no fatal change.

XXXII.

XXIX.

Coldly we spake. The Saxons, overpowered DANISH CONQUESTS.

By wrong triumphant through its own excess, Woe to the Crown that doth the Cowl obey* ! From fields laid waste, from house and home Dissension, checking arms that would restrain

devoured The incessant Rovers of the northern main, By flames, look up to heaven and crave redress Helps to restore and spread a Pagan sway: From God's eternal justice. Pitiless But Gospel-truth is potent to allay

Though men be, there are angels that can feel Fierceness and rage; and soon the cruel Dane

For wounds that death alone has power to heal, Feels, through the influence of her gentle reign, For penitent guilt, and innocent distress. His native superstitions melt away.

And has a Champion risen in arms to try Thus, often, when thick gloom the east o'ershrouds, His Country's virtue, fought, and breathes no more; The full-orbed Moon, slow-climbing, doth appear Him in their hearts the people canonize ; Silently to consume the heavy clouds ;

And far above the mine's most precious ore How no one can resolve; but every eye

The least small pittance of bare mould they prize Around her sees, while air is hushed, a clear Scooped from the sacred earth where his dear relics And widening circuit of ethereal sky.

lie.

* See Note.

* Which is still extant.

XXXIII.

THE COUNCIL OF CLERMONT.

Xxxvi.

AN INTERDICT. “And shall,” the Pontiff asks,“ profaneness flow REALMS quake by turns : proud Arbitress of grace, “ From Nazareth-source of Christian piety,

The Church, by mandate shadowing forth the “ From Bethlehem, from the Mounts of Agony

power “ And glorified Ascension ? Warriors, go,

She arrogates o'er heaven's eternal door, “With prayers and blessings we your path will sow; Closes the gates of every sacred place. “ Like Moses hold our hands erect, till ye

Straight from the sun and tainted air's embrace “ Have chased far off by righteous victory All sacred things are covered: cheerful morn “ These sons of Amalek, or laid them low !"

Grows sad as night-no seemly garb is worn, “GOD WILLETH it," the whole assembly cry ; Nor is a face allowed to meet a face Shout which the enraptured multitude astounds !

With natural smiles of greeting. Bells are dumb; The Council-roof and Clermont's towers reply ;

Ditches are graves--funereal rites denied ; “God willeth it," from hill to hill rebounds, And in the church-yard he must take his bride And, in awe-stricken Countries far and nigh,

Who dares be wedded ! Fancies thickly come Through “ Nature's hollow arch' that voice Into the pensive heart ill fortified, resounds *.

And comfortless despairs the soul benumb.

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PAPAL ABUSES.

The turbaned Race are poured in thickening swarms
Along the west ; though driven from Aquitaine, As with the Stream our voyage we pursue,
The Crescent glitters on the towers of Spain ;

The gross materials of this world present
And soft Italia feels renewed alarms;

A marvellous study of wild accident; The scimitar, that yields not to the charms

Uncouth proximities of old and new; Of ease, the narrow Bosphorus will disdain

;

And bold transfigurations, more untrue Nor long (that crossed) would Grecian hills detain (As might be deemed) to disciplined intent Their tents, and check the current of their arms.

Than aught the sky's fantastic element, Then blame not those who, by the mightiest lever

When most fantastic, offers to the view. Known to the moral world, Imagination,

Saw we not Henry scourged at Becket's shrine? Upheave, so seems it, from her natural station

Lo! John self-stripped of his insignia :-crown, All Christendom :—they sweep along (was never Sceptre and mantle, sword and ring, laid down So huge a host !)—to tear from the Unbeliever

At a proud Legate's feet! The spears that line The precious Tomb, their haven of salvation.

Baronial halls, the opprobrious insult feel;
And angry Ocean roars a vain appeal.

XXXV.

RICHARD I.

XXXVIII.

SCENE IN VENICE.

REDOUBTED King, of courage leonine,
I mark thee, Richard ! urgent to equip
Thy warlike person with the staff and scrip;
I watch thee sailing o'er the midland brine ;
In conquered Cyprus see thy Bride decline
Her blushing cheek, love-vows upon her lip,
And see love-emblems streaming from thy ship,
As thence she holds her way to Palestine.
My Song, a fearless homager, would attend
Thy thundering battle-axe as it cleaves the press
Of war, but duty summons her away
To tell-how, finding in the rash distress
Of those Enthusiasts a subservient friend,
To giddier heights hath clomb the Papal sway.

Black Demons hovering o'er his mitred head,
To Cæsar's Successor the Pontiff spake;
“ Ere I absolve thee, stoop! that on thy neck
“ Levelled with earth this foot of mine may

tread."
Then he, who to the altar had been led,
He, whose strong arm the Orient could not check,
He, who had held the Soldan at his beck,
Stooped, of all glory disinherited,
And even the common dignity of man !-
Amazement strikes the crowd : while many turn
Their eyes away in sorrow, others burn
With scorn, invoking a vindictive ban
From outraged Nature; but the sense of most
In abject sympathy with power is lost.

* The decision of this council was believed to be instantly known in remote parts of Europe.

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CISTERTIAN MONASTERY.

UNLESS to Peter's Chair the viewless wind
Must come and ask permission when to blow,

HERE Man more purely lives, less oft doth fall, What further empire would it have? for now More promptly rises, walks with stricter heed, A ghostly Domination, unconfined

More safely rests, dies happier, is freed As that by dreaming Bards to Love assigned, Earlier from cleansing fires, and gains withal Sits there in sober truth—to raise the low, “A brighter crown *.”-On yon Cistertian wall Perplex the wise, the strong to overthrow;

That confident assurance may be read; Through earth and heaven to bind and to unbind !- And, to like shelter, from the world have fled Resist—the thunder quails thee !-crouch-rebuff Increasing multitudes. The potent call Shall be thy recompence! from land to land Doubtless shall cheat full oft the heart's desires ; The ancient thrones of Christendom are stuff Yet, while the rugged Age on pliant knee For occupation of a magic wand,

Vows to rapt Fancy humble fealty, And 'tis the Pope that wields it :-whether rough A gentler life spreads round the holy spires; Or smooth his front, our world is in his hand ! Where'er they rise, the sylvan waste retires,

And aëry harvests crown the fertile lea.

IV.

TO THE CLOSE OF THE TROUBLES IN THE REIGN OF

CHARLES I,

I.

v.

PART II.

DEPLORABLE his lot who tills the ground,
His whole life long tills it, with heartless toil
Of villain-service, passing with the soil

To each new Master, like a steer or hound,
How soon-alas ! did Man, created pure-

Or like a rooted tree, or stone earth-bound; By Angels guarded, deviate from the line

But mark how gladly, through their own domains, Prescribed to duty :-woeful forfeiture

The Monks relax or break these iron chains; He made by wilful breach of law divine.

While Mercy, uttering, through their voice, a sound With like perverseness did the Church abjure

Echoed in Heaven, cries out, “ Ye Chiefs, abate Obedience to her Lord, and haste to twine, 'Mid Heaven-born flowers that shall for aye endure, and nature God disdained not; Man—whose soul

These legalized oppressions ! Man-whose name Weeds on whose front the world had fixed her sign. Christ died for-cannot forfeit his high claim O Man,-if with thy trials thus it fares,

To live and move exempt from all controul
If good can smooth the way to evil choice,

Which fellow-feeling doth not mitigate !"
From all rash censure be the mind kept free;
He only judges right who weighs, compares,
And, in the sternest sentence which his voice
Pronounces, ne'er abandons Charity.

Record we too, with just and faithful pen,

That many hooded Cenobites there are, From false assumption rose, and fondly hail'd

Who in their private cells have yet a care By superstition, spread the Papal power;

Of public quiet; unambitious Men, Yet do not deem the Autocracy prevail'd

Counsellors for the world, of piercing ken;
Thus only, even in error's darkest hour. [tower

Whose fervent exhortations from afar
She daunts, forth-thundering from her spiritual Move Princes to their duty, peace or war;
Brute rapine, or with gentle lure she tames.

And oft-times in the most forbidding den
Justice and Peace through Her uphold their claims ; Of solitude, with love of science strong,
And Chastity finds many a sheltering bower.

How patiently the yoke of thought they bear! Realm there is none that if contrould or sway'd

How subtly glide its finest threads along ! By her commands partakes not, in degree,

Spirits that crowd the intellectual sphere Of good, o'er manners arts and arms, diffused :

With mazy boundaries, as the astronomer
Yes, to thy domination, Roman See,

With orb and cycle girds the starry throng.
Tho' miserably, oft monstrously, abused
By blind ambition, be this tribute paid.

* See Note.

MONKS AND SCHOOLMEN.

II.

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OTHER BENEFITS.

And, not in vain embodied to the sight,
Religion finds even in the stern retreat
Of feudal sway her own appropriate seat ;
From the collegiate pomps on Windsor's height
Down to the humbler altar, which the Knight
And his Retainers of the embattled hall
Seek in domestic oratory small,
For prayer in stillness, or the chanted rite;
Then chiefly dear, when foes are planted round,
Who teach the intrepid guardians of the place
Hourly exposed to death, with famine worn,
And suffering under many a perilous wound-
How sad would be their durance, if forlorn
Of offices dispensing heavenly grace!

As faith thus sanctified the warrior's crest
While from the Papal Unity there came,
What feebler means had fail'd to give, one aim
Diffused thro' all the regions of the West;
So does her Unity its power attest
By works of Art, that shed, on the outward frame
Of worship, glory and grace, which who shall blame
That ever looked to heaven for final rest?
Hail countless Temples ! that so well befit
Your ministry; that, as ye rise and take
Form spirit and character from holy writ,
Give to devotion, wheresoe'er awake,
Pinions of high and higher sweep, and make
The unconverted soul with awe submit.

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CONTINUED.

And what melodious sounds at times prevail !
And, ever and anon, how bright a gleam
Pours on the surface of the turbid Stream !
What heartfelt fragrance mingles with the gale
That swells the bosom of our passing sail !
For where, but on this River's margin, blow
Those flowers of chivalry, to bind the brow
Of hardihood with wreaths that shall not fail ?-
Fair Court of Edward! wonder of the world!
I see a matchless blazonry unfurled
Of wisdom, magnanimity, and love;
And meekness tempering honourable pride;
The lamb is couching by the lion's side,
And near the flame-eyed eagle sits the dove.

Where long and deeply hath been fixed the root
In the blest soil of gospel truth, the Tree,
(Blighted or scathed tho' many branches be,
Put forth to wither, many a hopeful shoot)
Can never cease to bear celestial fruit.
Witness the Church that oft times, with effect
Dear to the saints, strives earnestly to eject
Her bane, her vital energies recruit.
Lamenting, do not hopelessly repine
When such good work is doomed to be undone,
The conquests lost that were so hardly won :-
All promises vouchsafed by Heaven will shine
In light confirmed while years their course shall run,
Confirmed alike in progress and decline.

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CRUSADERS.

TRANSUBSTANTIATION.
FURL we the sails, and pass with tardy oars
Through these bright regions, casting many a glance Enough! for see, with dim association
Upon the dream-like issues—the romance

The tapers burn; the odorous incense feeds
Of many-coloured life that Fortune pours A greedy flame; the pompous mass proceeds ;
Round the Crusaders, till on distant shores The Priest bestows the appointed consecration;
Their labours end; or they return to lie,

And, while the Host is raised, its elevation The vow performed, in cross-legged effigy, An awe and supernatural horror breeds; Devoutly stretched upon their chancel floors. And all the people bow their heads, like reeds Am I deceived? Or is their requiem chanted To a soft breeze, in lowly adoration. By voices never mute when Heaven unties This Valdo brooks not. On the banks of Rhone Her inmost, softest, tenderest harmonies ;

He taught, till persecution chased him thence, Requiem which Earth takes up with voice undaunted, To adore the Invisible, and Him alone. When she would tell how Brave, and Good, and Nor are his Followers loth to seek defence, Wise,

Mid woods and wilds, on Nature's craggy throne, For their high guerdon not in vain have panted ! From rites that trample upon soul and sense.

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