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THE DEATH OF RICHARD CEUR DE LION.

John Edmund READE. [Among our modern living poets there is no one whose name is more firmly fixed in public estimation than that of Mr. Reade. He may not be as “popular” as those who have indulged in a lighter kind of verse ; for Mr. Reade has written conscientiously, and not of or for the day, and has received his reward in the recognition of all thoughtful minds. He was born about the beginning of the present century, and his first literary adventure appeared in 1830; it was a drama, entitled “Cain the Wanderer ;” and it was so good—there was so much of promise in it for a firet work, that it obtained for its author an introduction to Coleridge, and it had the honour of a recorded testimony froin Goethe. In 1838 Mr. Reade published his “Italy,'' a poem of great merit; in 1839 “ Catiline," a tragedy; and in 1840 “ The Deluge," a dramatic poem. From that time until very recently Mr. Reade has plied a busy pen. A complete edition of his works, in two volumes, appeared in 1860, including the poems of “Man in Paradise," and # The Revelations of Life ;"' and another with revisions in 1965. An original contribution to our “ Readings,” from such a poet, is a compliment that we feel assured our readers will appreciate as highly as we do ourselves.]

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Ho! you to whom Caur de Lion is a name that like

a spell Wakens chivalry from slumber as if heard the thunder's

knell ; Listen to the lays that echo back the trumpet's clang,

when rolled Onward the crusading myriads by his arm alone con

trolled ; When the Christian hosts embattled in their triumph

marched along, From their front the Red Cross blazing, in their rear the

minstrels' song; When beside the king contending, monarchs felt their

lustre dim, Until Saladin his glory drew reflected but from him : Till red Ascalon and Assur stamped on him their

deathless fame, And the mother hushed her infant with the sound of

Richard's name!

II.
Through the clouds of vanished ages rises still that

martial form,
The quick glance, the forehead changeful, or in sunlight

or in storm : On the lip the hasty passion, that a word could quell

or wake, And the lightning eye that welcomed danger for the

daring's sake; O'er his shoulder broad the swinging axe, no second

stroke that gave, And the sword with dint of onsets hacked — each

notch a foeman's grave! On his head the helmet, glittering with the jewelled

crown that blazed O'er the surges of wild battle like a flaming beacon

raised. But the crownless sun eclipsing sinks in mist; the

eagle feels In the clouds the death-shaft, falling headlong in her

airy wheels; Listen, in his glory seated, as if mocking mortal

pride,
How shot forth the sting of poison when the warrior-
monarch died.

III.
Chaluz' castle-walls are bristling with the men-at-arms,

the keep
Shows the Norman banner floating in defiance from its

steep: The white tents of Richard, rising in the distance, hide

the array Of his slumberous bands, awaiting the assault at break

of day. Close beside the moated rampart mounted warriors

slowly pace, Armed in proof, save him the foremost champion with

unvizored face;

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Yet, though close that wall approaching, though within

its shade they tread, Not a bolt hath flown, and wherefore ? they are watch

ing him who led; He that champion stood before them whose renown

through Europe rang, Leader of the brave, and idol the applauding minstrels

sang; Flushed his warriors' cheeks behind him with the

thought that swelled each breast, Till rough Marchandès, their leader, spake their utter

ance repressed.

iv. “ Monarch! strike me if thou wilt, thou know'st no

flatterer am I, Cleave me with thine axe,—but hear me! so thou livest,

let me die; Give our tongues and hearts their freedom, and let

truth be told to kings! Think ye yonder men are Eastern slaves, that their light

darts are stings? Not a bolt shot from yon fortress but deals death, nor

arrow sped, Nor a sally made but cloven through a pathway of the

dead : 'Vested in thy robe of ermine, with the crown upon thy

brow, Deemest thou yon robbers gazing will thy sovereign

claim allow? Or disgorge the golden treasure that is thine to thee

again? Onward, if thou wilt, and, singly, beard the lions in

their den, But place us the foremost; guarding round thee with

our iron ring, Vainly shall they lower their drawbridge, or their

missiles on thee fling;

Mark !—even now, beside yon turret from the men-at

arms apart, Lurks a hidden archer pointing with his cross-bow at

thy heart."

Flashed the lightning eyes of Richard. "By the saints

of heaven! I swear, Here I stand, though all the opposing fiends of hell

were mounted there: To be seen by yonder robbers in their den came

Richard forth, That they yield their stolen plunder ere they kindle up

my wrath, And I hang them on their ramparts !” Scarce he

spoke,—the arrow flew, Whizzing through the air, and burying in his arm the

broken yew. From the walls the roar of shouting burst forth like the

mountain flood, As his knights careering forward round the stricken

warrior stood. Flushed the angry brow of Richard, but his wrath the

king controlled :" Marchandès—the gnat has stung me-mark me out

yon archer bold, Not a hair of his be injured-slay or spare even as

thou wilt, But his life as thine be scathless—be his blood alone

unspilt. I am faint- upon my war-horse mount me with the

morning sun Lead thou the assault, nor standing leave a stone when

day is done.”

VI.

Day broke on the sleepless hero, like a torch the light

revealed Evils the long hours of darkness and the curtained

night concealed.

Then was seen the flushing forehead and the pulse's

throbbing bound, And the restless eyes of fever seeking still the thing

unfound; Motionless, like iron statues, stood the warriors beside That low couch, so hushed and moveless, you had not

their life descried, Save the gleam of heaving breastplates showed they

lived, that eyes askance Stole upon that form beneath them a withdrawn and

stealthful glance. From afar the assault was sounded—what recked they

a mole-hill sunk, When their mightiest tree had fallen with its thunder• splitten trunk! Ascalon's great hero dying, Europe's glory and her pride; He who through a hundred battles Death had face to

face defied ! Sultans for his foes and monarchs, thus to perish in a

brawl ? By a peasant's hand laid prostrate, crushed beneath a

robber's wall ? And while listening to his breathings as they quicker

came and went, They felt that a mightier Foeman stood unseen within

the tent, That the Conqueror of heroes and of kings was there

to claim His great life, behind him leaving dust and an immortal fame!

VII. Hist!—the monarch wakes—the far sound of the

assault has met his ear: “Ha! we slumber on the pallet while the battle's shouts

we hear! Arm me-it is vain! Thou ever faithful Marchandès

draw nigh; Kings and heroes still are mortal, and are fated once to

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