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That child of Caribert, who had beseech'd
Augustine might be heard, and felt, and seen,
Where nought but blind idolatry had been.
And straight the Romish monk advanc'd to wean
As wise as warlike, patient as discreet,
The Saxons were not tardy to improve What conquest had laid
had laid prostrate at their feet : True sons of liberty ?, they ceaseless strove
To spread her blessings through both glen and And where'er found, or hamlet, hut, or hall,
They made those favours felt; and thus we love To trace our freedom's a source—and, most of all, To boast how well we've kept it too, withal.
1 The Saxons, like all the Germanic race in those days, were free, brave, and independent; and had then arrived at that degree of civilization in which the mind has acquired sufficient force for enterprise-Russel's Modern Europe, vol. i. p. 47.
2 The Saxons, on arriving in England, retained their own civil and LXXVIII.
Divided empire led but to distrust;
So, spite the power of Hengist—nay, th' address Of Cedric—there were frequent found, unjust,
And bitter feud, and foray and excess ;
Till, after years of wretchedness,
Was Egbert wise, and plum'd with great success,
Still coveted by other restless realms,
Our beauteous Isle was doom'd to be the grave
military institutions; and transplanted into this island those principles of independence which they had so highly cherished, and which had been transmitted to them by their ancestors. Modern Europe, pp. 23, 37, 53.
1 This took place about 400 years after the first arrival of the Saxons in Britain.
Of slaughter'd millions—No! not e’en the palms
By Alfred' nobly won, could always save
This ocean gem from the red reeking glave
Or rock or shoal, imperious came and gave
Yet was not full the cup of England's woe :
For, after Danish kings had ceas’d to reign,
i Truly called the Great. Every one knows that he formed that body of laws, which have ever been considered as the basis of English jurisprudence; and distinguished himself in a manner beyond all praise, by his valour against the Danes, by his magnanimity, his encouragement of learning, and the great attention he gave to whatever could most improve his country. After a reign of twenty-eight years, directed to the happiness of his people, he died in October 900.
2 It was about 559 years after the Saxon Heptarchy had been settled by Hengist and Horsa, that the Danes, under their King Sweyn, invaded England, which they had for 200 years assailed, and at last made themselves completely masters of, obliging Ethelred to flee into Normandy. Canute succeeded Sweyn, A. D. 1017.
There came a valiant host-nor came in vain
That Norman hero!, who, ambitious, dar'd
To claim those regions Harold would maintain ; And Hastings Field, where many a blade was bard, Left William conqueror.—How few were spard !
To tell the tale of that disastrous day,
When fell the last, the bravest of his race,A braver never grac'd the poet's lay !
But, what was humbld England's dire disgrace,
How glow'd with indignation every face, When the exulting Gaul, deceptive, proud,
By might and mode, by vengeance and menace, O'erthrew the ancient laws, and disavow'd
The sacred oath he had proclaim'd aloud ?
A thrall but for a season,-coming years,
Through causes which were foreign to my song,
1 William was a natural son of the sixth Duke of Normandy, by Ar
Restor’d to Britain, drench'd though oft in tears,
Her darling child !-We pray, that she may long
The treasure cherish ; yet this Norman wrong Was not all worthless-crush'd beneath the Dane,
We lack'd some souls of fire-and, 'midst the throng Who bore their banners high-nor stoop'd for gainCame thousands, joyous, generous, " free from stain 1."
lotte, a skinner's daughter. He claimed the throne of England by a pretended will of Edward the Confessor in his favour. He died A. D. 1087.
1“ Sans peur, et sans tache.”
END OF CANTO FIRST,