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The first of all the rout was sound,
The next were dust and flame,
And then the horses shook the ground:
And in the thick of them
A still band came.

"Oh what do ye bring out of the fight, Thus hid beneath these boughs?" "Thy conquering guest returns to-night, And yet shall not carouse, Queen, in thy house.”

"Uncover ye his face," she said.
"O changed in little space!"
She cried, "O pale that was so red!
O God, O God of grace!
Cover his face."

His sword was broken in his hand
Where he had kissed the blade.
"O soft steel that could not withstand!
O my hard heart unstayed,
That prayed and prayed!"

His bloodied banner crossed his mouth Where he had kissed her name.

"O east, and west, and north, and south, Fair flew my web, for shame, To guide Death's aim!"

The tints were shredded from his shield
Where he had kissed her face.

"Oh, of all gifts that I could yield,
Death only keeps its place,
My gift and grace!"

Then stepped a damsel to her side,
And spoke, and needs must weep:
"For his sake, lady, if he died,
He prayed of thee to keep
This staff and scrip."

That night they hung above her bed,
Till morning wet with tears.
Year after year above her head
Her bed his token wears,
Five years, ten years.

That night the passion of her grief
Shook them as there they hung.
Each year the wind that shed the leaf
Shook them and in its tongue
A message flung.

And once she woke with a clear mind.
That letters writ to calm

Her soul lay in the scrip; to find
Only a torpid balm
And dust of palm.

They shook far off with palace sport
When joust and dance were rife;
And the hunt shook them from the court;
For hers, in peace or strife,
Was a Queen's life.

A Queen's death now: as now they shake To gusts in chapel dim,

Hung where she sleeps, not seen to wake, (Carved lovely white and slim),

With them by him.

Stand up to-day, still armed, with her,
Good knight, before His brow
Who then as now was here and there,
Who had in mind thy vow
Then even as now.

The lists are set in Heaven to-day,
The bright pavilions shine;
Fair hangs thy shield, and none gainsay
The trumpets sound in sign
That she is thine.

Not tithed with days' and years' decease
He pays thy wage He owed,

But with imperishable peace
Here in His own abode,
Thy jealous God.



[Ballads and Sonnets 1881.-"Composed chiefly in 1880; some scraps of it had however been written «<long ago», as my brother told me." Memoir pg. 369.]

By none but me can the tale be told,
The butcher of Rouen, poor Berold.

(Lands are swayed by a King on a throne.)
'Twas a royal train put forth to sea,
Yet the tale can be told by none but me.
(The sea hath no King but God alone.)

King Henry held it as life's whole gain
That after his death his son should reign.

'Twas so in my youth I heard men say, And my old age calls it back to-day.

King Henry of England's realm was he,
And Henry Duke of Normandy.

The times had changed when on either coast "Clerkly Harry" was all his boast.

Of ruthless strokes full many an one
He had struck to crown himself and his son;
And his elder brother's eyes were gone.

And when to the chase his court would crowd,
The poor flung ploughshares on his road,
And shrieked: "Our cry is from King to God!"

But all the chiefs of the English land

Had knelt and kissed the Prince's hand.

And next with his son he sailed to France
To claim the Norman allegiance:

And every baron in Normandy
Had taken the oath of fealty.

'Twas sworn and sealed, and the day had come When the King and the Prince might journey home:

For Christmas cheer is to home hearts dear,
And Christmas now was drawing near.

Stout Fitz-Stephen came to the King,-
A pilot famous in seafaring;

And he held to the King, in all men's sight,
A mark of gold for his tribute's right.

"Liege Lord! my father guided the ship From whose boat your father's foot did slip When he caught the English soil in his grip,

"And cried: "By this clasp I claim command O'er every rood of English land!'

"He was borne to the realm you rule o'er now In that ship with the archer carved at her prow:

"And thither I'll bear, an it be my due, Your father's son and his grandson too.

"The famed White Ship is mine in the bay, From Harfleur's harbour she sails to-day,

"With masts fair-pennoned as Norman spears And with fifty well-tried mariners."

Quoth the King: "My ships are chosen each one, But I'll not say nay to Stephen's son.

"My son and daughter and fellowship Shall cross the water in the White Ship."

The King set sail with the eve's south wind,
And soon he left that coast behind.

The Prince and all his, a princely show,
Remained in the good White Ship to go.

With noble knights and with ladies fair,
With courtiers and sailors gathered there,
Three hundred living souls we were:

And I Berold was the meanest hind
In all that train to the Prince assign'd.

The Prince was a lawless shameless youth; From his father's loins he sprang without ruth:

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