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For he had heard in other lands the fame
6 I would fain live To see that day," replied their aged host: “ How would my heart leap to behold again The gallant generous chieftain ! I fought by him, When all our hopes of victory were lost, 65 And down his batter'd arms the blood stream'd fast From many a wound. Like wolves they hemm'd usin, Fierce in unhoped for conquest: all around Our dead and dying countrymen lay heap'd ; Yet still he strove ;.. I wonder'd at his valour! 70 There was not one who on that fatal day Fought bravelier.”
“ Fatal was that day to France,” Exclaim'd the Bastard ; “ there Alençon fell, Valiant in vain; there D'Albert, whose mad pride Brought the whole ruin on. There fell Brabant, Vaudemont, and Marle, and Bar, and Faquenberg, Our noblest warriors; the determin'd foe 77
Fought for revenge, not hoping victory,
6 Yet believe not,” Bertram cried,
« But when the field Was won, and they who had escaped the fight Had yielded up their arms, it was foul work To turn on the defenceless prisoners The cruel sword of conquest. Girt around 95 I to their
had surrender'd me, When lo! I heard the dreadful
of death. Not as amid the fray, when man met man And in fair combat
the mortal blow; Here the poor captives, weaponless and bound, 100 Saw their stern victors draw again the sword, And groan'd and strove in vain to free their hands, And bade them think upon their plighted faith, And pray'd for mercy in the name of God, In vain : the King had bade them massacre, 105 And in their helpless prisoners' naked breasts
They drove the weapon.
Then I look'd for death, And at that moment death was terrible,.. For the heat of fight was over; of my home I thought, and of my wife and little ones 110 In bitterness of heart. But the brave man, To whom the chance of war had made me thrall, Had pity, loosed my hands, and bade me fly. It was the will of Heaven that I should live Childless and old to think upon the past, 115 And wish that I had perish'd !”
The old man Wept as he spake. “Ye may perhaps have heard Of the hard siege that Roan so long endur'd. I dwelt there, strangers; I had then a wife, And I had children tenderly beloved,
120 Who I did hope should cheer me in old age And close mine eyes. The tale of misery May-hap were tedious, or I could relate Much of that dreadful time."
The Maid replied, Wishing of that devoted town to hear.
125 Thus then the veteran:
“ So by Heaven preserved, From the disastrous plain of Agincourt I speeded homewards, and abode in peace. | Henry, as wise as brave, had back to England Led his victorious army; well aware
130 That France was mighty, that her warlike sons, Impatient of a foreigner's command, Might rise impetuous, and with multitudes Tread down the invaders. Wisely he return'd, For our proud barons in their private broils 135
Wasted the strength of France. I dwelt at home,
Ah me! when war the masters of mankind, 150
walls Pitch'd they their camp. I need not tell, Sir Knight How oft and boldly on the invading host We burst with fierce assault impetuous forth, 165
For many were the warlike sons of Roan.
« Still we strove, Expecting aid ; nor longer force to force, Valour to valour, in the fight opposed, But to the exasperate patience of the foe, 190 Desperate endurance. Though with christian zeal Ursino would have pour'd the balm of peace Into our wounds, Ambition's ear, best pleased With the war's clamour and the
of death, Was deaf to prayer. Day after day pass'd on; 195