Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 BATTLE OF THE LEAGUE.*

The King is come to marshal us, all in his armour drest,
And he has bound a snow-whité 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

King!”
“ And if my standard-bearer fall, as fall full well he may,
For never saw I promise yet of such a bloody fray,

Ι 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 helmet 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

souls.
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 !

MACAULAY.

THE PURITANS.

“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 serve him, to enjoy him, was with them the great end of existence. Instead of catching occasional glimpses of the Deity, through an obscuring veil, they aspired to gaze full on his intolerable brightness, and to commune with him habitually face to face. Hence originated their contempt for all terrestial distinctions. They recognised no title to superiority but his favour; and, confident of that favour, they despised all the accomplishments and all the dignities of the world. If they were unacquainted with the works of philosophers and poets they were deeply read in the oracles of God. It their names were not found in the registers of heralds, they were recorded in the Book of Life. If their steps were not accompanied by a splendid train of menials, legions of ministering angels had charge over them. Their palaces were houses not made with hands; their diadems, crowns of glory which should never fade away. On the rich and the eloquent, on nobles and priests, they looked down with contempt; for they esteemed themselves rich in a more precious treasure, and eloquent in a more sublime language-nobles by the right of an earlier creation, and priests by the imposition of a mightier hand. The very meanest of them was a being to whose fate a mysterious and terrible importance belonged,-on whose slightest action the spirits of light and darkness looked with anxious interest; who had been destined, before heaven and earth were created, to enjoy a felicity which should continue when heaven and earth should have passed away. Events, which short-sighted politicians ascribed to earthly causes, had been ordained on his account. For his sake empires had risen, and flourished and decayed. For his sake the Almighty had proclaimed his will by the pen of the evangelist and the harp of the prophet. He had been wrested by no common deliverer from the grasp of no common foe.

Thus the Puritan was made up of two different men,-the one all self-abasement, penitence, gratitude, passion; the other, proud, calm, inflexible, sagacious. He prostrated himself in the dust before his Maker; but he set his foot on the neck of his king. In his devotional retirement he prayed with convulsions, and groans, and tears. He was half maddened by glorious or terrible illusions. He heard the lyres of angels, or the tempting whispers of fiends. He caught a gleam of the beatific vision, or woke screaming from dreams of everlasting fire. Like Vane, he thought himself entrusted with the sceptre of the millennial year. Like Fleetwood, he cried in the bitterness of his soul that God had hid his face from him. But when he took his seat in the council, or girt on his sword for war, these tempestuous workings of the soul had left no perceptible trace behind them. People who saw nothing of the godly but their uncouth visages, and heard nothing from them but their groans and their whining hymns, might laugh at them. But those liad little reason to laugh who encountered them in the hall of debate or in the field of battle. These fanatics brought to civil and military affairs a coolness of judgment and an immutability of purpose which some writers have thought inconsistent with their religious zeal, but which were, in fact, the necessary effects of it. The intensity of their feelings on one subject made them tranquil on every other. One overpowering sentiment had subjected to itself pity and hatred, ambition and fear. Death had lost its terrors, and pleasure its charms. They had their smiles and their tears, their raptures and their sorrows, but not for the things of this world. Enthusiasm had made them stoics, had cleared their minds from every vulgar passion and prejudice, and raised them above the influence of danger and corruption. Ít sometimes might lead them to pursue unwise ends, but never to choose unwise means. They went on their way crushing and trampling down oppressors, -mingling with human beings, but having neither part nor lot in human infirmities; insensible to fatigue, to pleasure, and to pain; not to be pierced by any weapon, nor to be withstood by any barrier. Such we believe to have been the character of the Puritans. We perceive the absurdity of their manners; we dislike the sullen gloom of their domestic habits; we acknowledge that the tone of their minds was often injured by straining after things too high for mortal reach. Yet, when all circumstances are taken into consideration, we do not hesitate to state that they were men, to whose bravery, honesty, and invincible devotion to right their country is indebted for some of the most precious privileges she enjoys.-MACAULAY.

THE PILGRIM FATHERS.

They sailed to America in the "Mayflower," and landed Dec. 22, 1620.

“Hail to thee, poor little ship'Mayflower, of Delft Haven: poor common-looking ship, hired by common charterparty for coined dollars ; caulked with mere oakum and tar; provisioned with vulgarest biscuit and bacon; yet what ship. Argo,'or miraculous epic ship, built by the sea gods, was not a foolish bumbarge in comparison! Golden fleeces or the like, these sailed for, with or without effect; thou little ‘Mayflower' hádst in thee a veritable Promethean spark; the life-spark of the largest nation on our earth; so we may already name the Transatlantic Saxon nation. They went seeking leave to hear sermon in their own method, these Mayflower Puritans; a most honest indispensable search, and yet, like Saul, the son of Kish, seeking a small thing, they found this unexpected great thing! Honour to the brave and true; they verily, we say, carry fire from heaven, and have a power that themselves dream not of."-CARLYLE.

The breaking waves dash'd high

On a stern and rock-bound coast;
And the woods, against a stormy sky,

Their giant branches toss'd;

And the heavy night hung dark,

The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moor'd their bark

On the wild New England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes,

They, the true-hearted, came;-
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,

And the trumpet that sings of fame;

Not as the flying come,

In silence, and in fear;
They shook the depths of the desert's gloom

With their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang :

This the stars heard, and the sea;
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang

To the anthem of the free,

The ocean-eagle soar'd

From his nest, by the white wave's foam, And the rocking pines of the forest roar'd:

Such was their welcome home.

There were men with hoary hair

Amidst that pilgrim band :
Why had they come to wither there,

Away from their childhood's land?

There was woman's fearless eye,

Lit by her deep love's truth;
There was manhood's brow serenely high,

And the fiery heart of youth.

What sought they thus afar?

Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas? the spoils of war?-

No-'twas a faith's pure shrine.

Yes, call that holy ground,

Which first their brave feet trod!
They have left unstain'd what there they found-

FREEDOM to WORSHIP GOD -Mrs. HEMANS.

« PreviousContinue »