Page images
PDF

Hark! 'tis bellowed from the caves
Where Lough Swilly's billow raves,
And three hundred British graves
Taint the shore.

No voice of life was there—
'Tis the dead that raise that cry!
The dead, who raised no prayer
As they sank in wild despair,
Chant in scorn that boastful air,
Where they lie.

"Rule, Britannia," sang the crew
When the stout Saldanah sailed;
And her colours, as they flew,
Flung the warrior-cross* to view,
Which in battle to subdue
Ne'er had failed.

Bright rose the laughing morn—
That morn that sealed her doom—
Dark and sad is her return,
And the storm-lights faintly burn,
As they toss upon her stern,
'Mid the gloom.

From the lonely beacon's height,
As the watchmen gazed around,
They had seen their flashing light
Drive swift athwart the night;
Yet the wind was fair, and right
For the Sound.

But no mortal power shall now
That crew and vessel save ;—
They are shrouded as they go
In a hurricane of snow,
And the track beneath her prow
Is their grave.

* Warrior-crow, the union flag, the national ensign of Great Britain.

There are spirits of the deep,
Who, when the warrant's given,
Rise raging from their sleep^
On rock or mountain steep,
Or 'mid thunder-clouds that keep
The wrath of Heaven.

High the eddying mists are whirled,
As they rear their giant forms;
See! their tempest-flag's unfurled—
Fierce they sweep the prostrate world,
And by them the lightning's hurled
Through the storms.

O'er Swilly's rocks they soar,
Commissioned watch to keep;
Down, down, with thundering roar,
The exulting demons pour;—
The Saldanah floats no more
O'er the deep!

The dread behest is past!
All is silent as the grave;
One shriek was first and last—
Scarce a death-sob drank the blast,
As sank her towering mast

Beneath the wave.

"Britannia rules the waves!"
Oh! vain and impious boast!
Go mark, presumptuous slaves,
Where He, who sinks or saves,
Strews the sand with countless graves
Round your coast.

T. Sheridan.

BERNARDO AND KING ALPHONSO.

With some good ten of his chosen men,

Bernardo hath appeared
Before them all in the palace hall,

The lying king to beard.

With cap in hand and eye on ground,

He came in reverent guise; But ever and anon he frowned,

And flame broke from his eyes.

"A curse upon thee," cries the king,

"Who com'st unbid to me!
But what from traitor's blood should spring,

Save traitor like to thee 1
His sire, lords, had a traitor's heart,—

Perchance our champion brave
May think it were a pious part

To share Don Sancho's grave."

"Whoever told this tale,

The king hath rashness to repeat,"
Cries Bernard, "here my gage I fling

Before the liar's feet.
No treason was in Sancho's blood—

No stain in mine doth lie:
Below the throne, what knight will own

The coward calumny?

Ye swore upon your kingly faith

To set Don Sancho free;
But, curse upon your paltering breath!

The light he ne'er did see:
He died in dungeon cold and dim,

By Alphonso's base decree;
And visage blind, and mangled limb,

Were all they gave to me.

The king that swerveth from his word,

Hath stained his purple black:
No Spanish lord shall draw his sword

Behind a liar's back.
But noble vengeance shall be mine,

And open hate I'll show ;—
The king hath injured Carpio's line,

And Bernard is his foe!"

"Seize—seize him!" loud the king doth scream:

"There are a thousand here;
Let his foul blood this instant stream;—

What! caitiffs, do ye fear?
Seize—seize the traitor!" But not one

To move a finger dareth:
Bernardo standeth by the throne,

And calm his sword he bareth.

He drew the falchion from its sheath,

And held it up on high;
And all the hall was still as death!—

Cries Bernard, "Here am I;
And here's the sword that owns no lord,

Excepting Heaven and me:
Fain would I know who dares its point—

King, conde, or grandee."

Then to his mouth his horn he drew—

It hung below his cloak;
His ten true men the signal knew,

And through the ring they broke.
With helm on head, and blade in hand,

The knights the circle brake,
And back the lordlings 'gan to stand,

And the false king to quake.

"Ha! Bernard!" quoth Alphonso,

"What means this warlike guise? Ye know full well I jested;—

Ye know your worth I prize!" But Bernard turned upon his heel,

And, smiling, passed away. Long rued Alphonso and Castile

The jesting of that day!

J. G. IiOOKHART.

THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS.

Across the ocean's troubled breast

The base-bora Norman came,
To win for his helm a kingly crest,

For his sons a kingly name;

And in his warlike band

Came flashing fair and free The brightest swords of his father's land,

With the pomp of its chivalry.

What doth the foe on England's field?

Why seeks he England's throne? Has she no chiefs her arms to wield,

No warrior of her own?

But, lo! in regal pride

Stern Harold comes again, With the waving folds of his banner dyed

In the blood of the hostile Dane.

The song, the prayer, the feast were o'er,
The stars in heaven were pale,

And many a brow was bared once more
To meet the morning gale.
At length the sun's bright ray
Tinged the wide east with gold,

And the misty veil of the morning gray
Away from his forehead rolled.

And all along each crowded tract

His burning glance was thrown,
Till the polished armour sent him back

A lustre like his own.

Still flashed the silver sheen

Along the serried lines, Where the deadly wood of spears was seen

To rise like forest-pines.

In either host was silence deep,
Save the falchion's casual ring,

« PreviousContinue »