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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 the tall Pinta, till the noon, 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, unbonneted, the stout old sheriff
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
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 flag-staff 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 freshening breeze of eve unfurled that banner's massy fold
The parting gleam of sunshine kissed that haughty scroll of gold.
Night sunk upon the dusky beach, and on the purple
Such night in England ne'er had been, nor e'er again shall be.
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
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
The rugged miners poured to war, from Mendip❜ 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 alarum 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:
And from the farthest wards was heard the rush of hurrying feet,
And the broad streams of flags and pikes dashed down each rousing street:
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;
And roused, in many an ancient hall, the gallant squires of Kent:
Southward, for Surrey's pleasant hills, flew those bright coursers forth;
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 flag o'er Derwent's rocky dales;
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,
Till Skiddaw saw the fire that burnt on Gaunt's embattled pile,
And the red glare on Skiddaw roused the burghers of Carlisle.
ELEGY IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD.
THE curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the moon complain, Of such as, wandering near her secret bower, Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed, The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.