Page images

The English shafts in vollies hailed,
In headlong charge their horse assailed ;
Front, flank, and rear, their squadrons sweep,
To break the Scottish circle deep,

That fought around their king !
But yet though thick the shafts as snow,
Though charging knights like whirlwinds go,
Though bill-men ply the ghastly blow,
Unbroken was the ring :
The stubborn spearmen still made good
Their dark impenetrable wood;
Each stepping where his comrade stood,

The instant that he fell.
No thought was there of dastard flight;
Linked in the serried phalanx tight,
Groom fought like noble, squire like knight,-

As fearlessly as well;
Till utter darkness closed her wing
O'er their thin host and wounded king;
Then skilful Surrey's sage commands
Led back from strife his shattered bands;

And from the charge they drew,
As mountain waves, from wasted lands,

Sweep back to ocean blue.
Then did their loss his foemen know;
Their king, their lords, their mightiest low,
They melted from the field as snow-
When streams are swollen, and south winds blow-
Dissolves in silent dew.–Scott.


How many grand interests—maritime discovery kindling the imagination, national growth awakening patriotism, dawning science quickening intellect, prowess and passion incited by free and earnest social conditions-united to awaken the genius and enrich the manhood of England in Elizabeth's age! There was an earnest call upon all the powers, and large natures could scarcely avoid their use. Bacon was not only a chancellor but a philosopher and an essayist; Raleigh was not only an admiral but a statesman and an annalist; Sidney not only wielded a sword, but struck a lyre; and as if to mirror in one broad and eternal picture, the wide activity and universal humanity then projected into coming time, Shakspeare unfolded in the drama all the experience that life includes, and all the powers it enlists and illustrates.

Christian Examiner. There is many a glorious page in English history, but none more bright and radiant than that which records the doings of the Elizabethan era. It was a time when the national life was healthy and noble, as never national life had been before, or has been since. The discovery of the New World kindled the imagination, and gave birth to great and glorious dreams; Protestantism gave earnestness to the dreamer, strengthened his arm, and inspired his every blow; Platonic idealism cast its divine radiance over all; the spirit of the chivalry which was expiring, ennobled that of the commercial enterprise, which was strengthening every day; and the sentiment of nationality, whilst fed by all these sources, blended them into one majestic stream, and sent them forth upon their errand, conquering and to conquer.


Attend, all ye who list to hear our noble England's praise :
I sing of the thrice famous deeds, she wrought in ancient days,
When the great fleet invincible, against her bore, in vain,
The richest spoils of Mexico, the stoutest hearts in Spain.
It was about the lovely close of a warm summer's day,
There came a gallant merchant ship, full sail to Plymouth bay;
The crew had seen Castile's black fleet, beyond Aurigny's isle,
At earliest twilight, on the waves, lie heaving many a mile.
At sunrise she escaped their van, by God's especial grace;
And until noon a Spanish ship had held her close in chase.
Forthwith a guard, at every gun, was placed along the wall;
The beacon blazed upon the roof of Edgecombe's lofty hall;
Many a light fishing bark put out, to pry along the coast;
And with loose rein, and bloody spur, rode inland many a post.
With his white hair, unbonnetted, the stout old sheriff comes ;
Behind him march the halberdiers, before him sound the drums.
The yeomen, round the market cross, make clear an ample space,
For there behoves him to set up the standard of her grace :
And haughtily the trumpets peal, and gaily dance the bells,
As slow, upon the labouring wind, the royal blazon swells.
Look how the lion of the sea lifts up his ancient crown,
And underneath his deadly paw treads the gay lilies down!
So stalked he when he turned to flight, on that famed Picard field,
Bohemia's plume, and Genoa's bow, and Cæsar's eagle shield :
So glared he when, at Agincourt, in wrath he turned to bay,
And crushed and torn, beneath his claws, the princely hunters lay.
Ho! strike the flagstaff deep, sir Knight! Ho! scatter flowers,

fair maids !
Ho, gunners ! fire a loud salute! ho, gallants ! draw your blades !
Thou, sun, shine on her joyously! ye breezes, waft her wide !
Our glorious semper eadem! the banner of our pride!
The fresh’ning breeze of eve unfurled that banner's massy fold-
The parting gleam of sunshine kissed that haughty scroll of gold.
Night sank upon the dusky beach, and on the purple sea;
Such night in England ne'er had been, nor e'er again shall be.

* In 1588.

From Eddystone to Berwick bounds, from Lynn to Milford bay,
That time of slumber was as bright, as busy as the day ;
For swift to east, and swift to west, the warning radiance spread-
High on St. Michael's Mount it shone-it shone on Beachy Head.
Far o'er the deep, the Spaniard saw, along each southern shire,
Cape beyond cape, in endless range, those twinkling points of fire.
The fisher left his skiff to rock on Tamer's glittering waves,
The rugged miners poured to war, from Mendip's sunless caves :
O’er Longleat's towers, o'er Cranbourne's oaks, the fiery herald

flew He roused the shepherds of Stonehenge—the rangers of Beaulieu. Right sharp and quick the bells rang out, all night, from Bristol

town; And, ere the day, three hundred horse had met on Clifton Down.

The sentinel on Whitehall gate looked forth into the night,
And saw, o'erhanging Richmond Hill, that streak of blood-red light.
The bugle’s note, and cannon's roar, the deathlike silence broke,
And with one start, and with one cry the royal city woke;
At once, on all her stately gates, arose the answering fires;
At once the wild alarm-bell clashed from all her reeling spires;
From all the batteries of the Tower pealed loud the voice of fear,
And all the thousand masts of Thames sent back a louder cheer;
Then from the farthest wards was heard the rush of hurrying feet,
And the broad streams of flags and pikes dashed down each rousing

And broader still became the blaze, and louder still the din,
As fast from every village round the horse came spurring in;
And eastward straight, for wild Blackheath, the warlike errand

went; Which roused, in many an ancient hall, the gallant squires of Kent; Southward, for Surrey's pleasant hills, flew those bright coursers High on black Hampstead's swarthy moor, they started for the

north; And on, and on, without a pause, untired they bounded still ; All night from tower to tower they sprang, all night from hill to hill ; Till the proud peak unfurled the fag o'er Derwent's rocky daies; Till, like volcanoes, flared to heaven the stormy hills of Wales; Till twelve fair counties saw the blaze on Malvern's lonely height; Till streamed in crimson, on the wind, the Wrekin's crest of light, Till, broad and fierce the star came forth, on Ely's stately fane, And town and hamlet rose in arms, o'er all the boundless plain : Till Belvoir's lordly towers the sign to Lincoln sent, And Lincoln sped the message on, o'er the wide vale of Trent; Till Skiddaw saw the fire that burnt on Gaunt's embattled pilé, And the red glare on Skiddaw roused the burghers of Carlisle.



QUEEN ELIZABETH AND THE SPANISH ARMADA. Leapt the loud joy from earth to heaven,

As through the ranks asunder riven,

The warrior woman rode-
Hark! thrilling through the armed line

The martial accents ring
" Through mine the woman's form, yet mine

The heart of England's king.”
Woe to the island and the maid !
The pope has preached the new Crusade:
His sons have caught the fiery zeal,
The monks are merry in Castile;

Bold Parma on the main-
And through the deep exulting sweep,

And thunder-steeds of Spain.
What meteor rides the sulphureous gale?
The flames have caught the giant sail,
Fierce Drake is grappling from prow to prow,
God and St. George for victory now!
Havoc in battle the Spaniards find,
And death in the storm behind;
Their shrieks are heard above the hurtling roar,
By Orkney's rugged strands and Erin's ruthless shore.

Joy to the island and the maid,
Pope Sextus wept the last Crusade.-BULWER.


The King is come to marshal us, all in his armour drest,
And he has bound a snow-white plume upon his gallant crest.
He look'd upon his people, and a tear was in his eye:
He look'd upon the traitors, and his glance was stern and high.
Right graciously he smiled on us, as roll'd from wing to wing,
Down all our line a deafening shout, “God save our Lord the

“And if my standard-bearer fall, as fall full well he may,
For never saw I promise yet of such a bloody fray,
Press where you see my white plume shine, amidst the ranks of war,
And be your Oriflamme to-day the helmet of Navarre.”
Hurrah! the foes are moving. Hark to the mingled din
Of fife, and steed, and trump, and drum, and roaring culverin!
The fiery Duke is pricking fast across St. André's plain,
With all the hireling chivalry of Guelders and Almayne.
Now by the lips of those we love, fair gentlemen of France,
Charge for the Golden Lilies,-upon them with the lance!

* In 1590.

A thousand spurs are striking deep, a thousand spears in rest,
A thousand knights are pressing close behind the snow-white crest;
And in they burst, and on they rush'd, while, like a guiding star,
Amidst the thickest carnage blazed the helmét of Navarre.

Now, God be praised, the day is ours ! Mayenne hath turned his

rein, D'Aumale hath cried for quarter. The Flemish Count is slain. Their ranks are breaking like thin clouds before a Biscay gale. The field is heap'd with bleeding steeds, and flags, and cloven mail. And then we thought on vengeance, and, all along our van, “Remember St. Bartholomew !” was passed from man to man: But out spake gentle Henry, "No Frenchman is my foe; Down, down with every foreigner! but let your brethren go." Oh! was there ever such a knight, in friendship or in war, As our sovereign Lord, King Henry, the soldier of Navarre !

Ho! maidens of Vienna; ho! matrons of Lucerne;
Weep, weep, and rend your hair for those who never shall return.
Ho! Philip, send, for charity, thy Mexican pistoles,
That Antwerp monks may sing a mass for thy poor spearmen's

Ho! gallant nobles of the League, look that your arms be bright;
Ho! burghers of St. Genevieve, keep watch and ward to-night,
For our God hath crush'd the tyrant, our God hath raised the slave,
And mock'd the counsel of the wise, and the valour of the brave.
Then glory to His holy name, from whom all glories are;
And glory to our Sovereign Lord, King Henry of Navarre !



The rectitude of their lives and the sobriety of their habits, taught them the only true and safe road to real liberty, and they took up arms, only to defend the sanctity of the laws and the rights of conscience."--MILTON.

The Puritans were perhaps the most remarkable body of men that the world ever produced. It is to be regretted that they-to whose courage, devotion, and talents mankind owes inestimable obligations—had not the elegance and good-breeding of their opponents; yet, if we must make our choice, we shall, like Bassanio, turn from the glittering caskets, with their worthless contents, and fix on the plain leaden chest which conceals the treasure.

They were men whose minds had derived a peculiar character from the daily contemplation of superior beings and eternal interests. Not content with acknowledging, in general terms, an over-ruling Providence, they habitually ascribed every event to the will of the Great Being, for whose power nothing was too vast, and for whose inspection nothing was too minute. To know him, to

« PreviousContinue »