Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

m many a hard-fought field, belming his bead; .
A buckler broad, and fenced with iron plates, .
Bulwark'd bis breast. Nor to dislodge the Chief
Could the English pour their numbers, for the way
By upward steps presented from the fort
Narrow.ascent, where one alone could meet
The war. Yet were they of their numbers proud,
Tho' useless numbers were in that strait path,
Save by assault unceasing to out-last
A single warrior, who at length must sink
Fatigued with conquering, by long vi&tory
Vanquish'd.

There was amid the garrison :
A fearless Knight who at Verneuil had foughts
And high renown for his bold chivalry
Acquir'd in that day's conquest. To his fame
The thronging English yield the foremost place.
He his long javelin tu transpierce the Frank
Thrust forceful : harmless in his shield it fix'd,
Advantaging the foe, for. Conrade. lifts

The battle-axe, and smote upon the lance
And * hurl'd its severed point with mighty aris
Fierce on the foe. With wary bend, the foc

* I have met with one instance in the English history, and only one, of throwing the spear after the manner of the ancients. It is in the chronicle of Howes." 1442. The 30th of January, a challenge was done in Smithfield within lists, before the King; the one Sir Philip de Beawse of Arragon a Knight, and the other an Esquire of the King's house called John Ausley or Astley. These comming to the fielde, tooke their tents, and there was the Knight's Sonne made Knight by the King, and so brought again to his father's tent. Then the Heralds of Armes called them by name to doe their bat. tell, and so they came both, all armed, with their weapons ; the Knight came with his sword drawn, and the Esquire 'with his speare. The Esquire cast his speare against the Knight, 'but the Knight avoiding it with his sword cast it to the ground. Then the Esquire took his axe and went against the Knight suddenly, on whom he stroke many strokes, hard and sore upon his basenet, and on his hand, and made him loose and let fall his axe to the ground, and brast up hig limbes three times, and caught his dagger and would have smitten him in the face, 'for to have slaine him in the field ; and then the King cried hoo, and so they were departed and went to their tents, and the King dubbed John Astley Knight "Por his valiant Torney, and the Knight of Arragon offered his armes at Windsor.”

Shrunk from the flying death ; yet not in vain
From that strong hand the fate-fraught weapon filed :
Full on the + corselet of a meaner man
It fell, and pierced, there where the heaving lungs,
With purer air distended, to the heart
Roll back their purged tide: from the deep wound
The red blood gushd: prone on the steps he fell,
And in the strong convulsive grasp of death
Grasp'd his long pike. Of unrecorded name
Died the mean man ; yet did he leave behind
One who did never say her daily prayers,
Of him forgetful ; who to every tale
Of the distant war, lending an eager ear,
Grew pale and trembled. At her cottage door,
The wretched one shall sit, and with dim eye
Gaze o'er the plain, where on his parting steps
Her last look hung. Nor ever shall she know
Her husband dead, but tortur’d with vain hope,

+ The corselet was chiefly worn by pikemen..

[ocr errors]

Gaze on-then heart-sick turn to her poor babe,
And weep it fatherless!

The enraged Knight
Drew his keen falchion, and with dauntless step
Moved to the closer conflict. Then the Frank
Held forth his buckler, and his battle axe
Uplifted. Where the buckler was below
Rounded, the falchion struck, but impotent
To pierce its plated folds ; more forceful driven,
Fierce on his crested helm, the Frenchman's stroke
Fell; the helm shivered; from his eyes the blood
Started; with blood the chambers of the brain
Were fill’d; his breast-plate with convulsive throes,
Heaved as he fell; victorious, he the prize
At many a tournament had borne away
In the mimic war : happy, if so content
With bloodless glory, he had never left
The mansion of his sires.

But terrified
The English stood, nor durst adventure now

Kear that death-doing man. Amid their bost Was one who well could from the stubborn bow Shower bis sharp shafts: well skill'd in wood-craft be, Eren as the merry Outlaws who their haunts In Sherwood held, and bade their bugles rouse The sleeping stag, ere on the web-woven grass The dew-drops sparkled to the rising sun. He safe in distance at the warrior aim'd The featherid dart; with force he drew the bow; Loud on his bracer struck the sounding string : And swift and strong the well-winged arrow fled. Deep in his shield it hung; then Conrade rais'd Again his echoing voice, and called for aid, Nor was the call unheard : the troops of France, From St. Loup's captur'd fort along the wall Haste to the portal ; cheering was the sound Of their near footsteps to the Chief; he drew His falchion forth, and down the steps he rush'd. Then terror seized the English, for their foes Swarm'd thro' the open portal, and the sword

« AnteriorContinuar »