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Harold. And it shall not ! Chains from him
A skipping foreigner ! If he had dared
To talk of chains,—you see these sinewy five,
They would have clutched him, till his Frenchman's tongue
Had howled for mercy-aie mesericorde !

William (smiles). It trips not as your tongue were native soil,
But halts and boggles like a horse half swamp'd
In a Dutch marsh. Speak Saxon, noble Harold !

Harold. I do, and thank you, William ; tho', by ’r lady,
My thanks are elsewhere due. Two shaveling priests
Broke prison bars, that might have stood unmoved
By Normandy in arms ;-a word or two
They said in Guido's ear ; when, quick ! begone !
I found myself with reverence helped to horse,
Girt with a sword, encased in silken robe,
A purse at girdle, and the two bald friars
Crossing them, as I swore some English oaths
At Guido's baseness,-looking if I might spy
A cudgel to requite his highness' care,
And lacking that, doubling my fist in rage
To smite the villain's ear. But ever they prayed
And claimed me as a waif and stray of the church ;
A sort of foundling taken to by the Pope,
And so I bore me like a Christian lamb
And slew not Guido,—till it please the Saints
To bring me to close reach of him again.

William. They were my holy chaplain's messengers.

Harold. I like not chaplains with more power than mine,
I'd strip them of it all.

He is in vows
Of poverty, and meekness, and submission.

Harold. Hang him, I like not vows, that whet us more
To gain what we abjure. 'T has often chanced,
When labouring with sharp aches from too much wine,
I've vowed to abstain ; no sooner slips the vow
Out of my lips, than-as its words were fire,
And made a sandy desert of my throat,
Parch'd with hot winds-nothing can quell my thirst
But five times more than if I had made no vow.
I know it well.

William. I trust, then, cousin, no vow
Of love to me shall make you turn to hate.

Harold. Tush ! 't is of priests I spoke ; for you this heart Beats as of old with love and reverence.

William. And mine to you. Ah! they were happy times When we went hawking over all that plainIts name escapes me—where the Druid stones Weigh in such mass upon the flight of Time That he seems moveless since a thousand years.

Harold. Salisbury,—'t is a ground to try a hawk. 'T might task an eagle's wing. William.

And you remember

How chafed the gallant steed that bore my child,
My little Adela ; and how she pressed
Ever for safety to your side ? Your voice
Soothing both horse and rider ?

I remember.
William. She hath oft spoke your name since the report
Of Guido's wrong arrived. You'd scarcely think
How fiercely she could clasp her little hand,
And beat the pavement with her passionate foot,
And fling hot threatenings from her fiery lips,
On the false traitor who retained her friend.

Harold. Heaven send its blessings on her childish head !
I see her fairy form before me still,
A lighter never trampled into rings
The green tops o' the grass.

You wrong her, Harold,
Two years have worn the fairy circles out
And put full woman's weight upon her limbs
And yet not changed her heart. E'en now she waits
Our coming in her bower.—Come, sce her, Harold. [Exeunt.

SCENE II. A fortnight has passed amid the amusements of the Court of Rouen. Adela has been compelled by her Father and Lanfranc to extort a promise from her lover Harold, under threat, if she refuses, of being sent to a Convent.

Lanfranc. "Tis needful, lady-that suffices.

I will not play the traitress to brave Harold,
And wile from the fond heart what the strong will
Would guard for ever. If he loves my father,-
Nay, if he loves—I mean not what I say-
But if he loves his friend, and in the truth
Of his full kindness promises to aid
A stranger to ascend his native throne,
Think it but words of courtesy,—the payment
Of present gratitude,—ne'er to be prest
Into the actual deed.

Leave the result
To me-to Heaven—and to our Lord the Pope.

Adela. What makes the Pope with Harold ? Is his voice
So powerful it can reach the walls of Rome?

Lanfranc. Rome's walls receive the lightest whispered word
That e'er left dying lips in farthest Isle,
Or loneliest desert. Harold's voice she hears;
And your's dear lady, as with eloquent lip,
You ask him to make promise of his aid
To our great duke.

And leave the path himself
That leads to greatness ?


But to happiness
The path is left more free. The first of subjects
Haply may

lead a life of sweeter joy
With her he loves beside him, than if raised
To a cold barren throne,—and her he loves
Doomed to a Convent's holy solitude.

Adela. Is that her doom?

Who will not serve the church
In Prince's court, shall serve her in Nun's cell.

Adela. I see there is no mercy in that eye.
Take me to Harold.
Lanfranc, (calls).


Enter Harold. Harold.

Remember lady!

Exit Lanfranc.
Harold. That man moves ever like a silent cloud,
And casts a shivering shadow ;--but he's gone,
And there is sunshine where sweet Adela smiles.

Adela. How know you that she smiles ?

I feel it, lady,
Even when I look not on your face, the glow
Reaches my heart;—as in June's balmy days
We know 'tis summer, tho' the flowers are hidden,
And live but by their fragrance.

Ah! kind Harold,
How sweet are words of praise from honest lips !

Harold. I meant them not for praise. Praise is but foam
From shallow streams,—the deeps hold still the pearl.

Adela. And yet my father doubts what truth there lies
Within that noble heart !

Doubt it who likes,
So Adela doubts it not. You doubt not, lady,
How you have filled this niche, like a fair saint
That never leaves the shrine.—We may be rude,
We of hot Saxon blood,—and not so quick
In valorous speech and trim built compliment,
As scholarly Normans,—but when once we have said
We love that short, stout manly word--we love,
Why, till our death we do it.

Other thoughts
Come in to choke it.

Which be they?

Harold. Not so ; we can aspire and love unchanged,
As eagles seek the sun, yet gaze on earth.

Adela Soar not too high, dear Harold, or poor earth
Grows to a speck—a point—then disappears.
Say you'll forswear all greatness—but your own-
Say when this Edward gains his heavenly crown,
You'll scorn the earthly bauble he has worn.

Harold. Who calls the circlet woven by England's might
By name so vile?

Adela. My father-

Let him scorn it
Since 'tis a bauble. 'Tis to me a crown,
The sacredest of the earth.

Farewell, then, Harold !
It may be death to say such words as these.

Harold. Death-
Adela. Aye, to both.

What words of mine have power
To bring such ill to Adela ?

Her life
Grows as your's grows—and fades with yours.
Harold (aside).

My life
Hangs then on William's liking ?-As I thought !-
'Twas safer in the dungeons of Panthieu.

Adela. You hesitate-Oh ! Harold, give your hand

you will aid my father in his aims.
Will you not, Harold ?-he is Adela's father-
Your's too-dear Harold ;-say you'll give your aid !

Harold. Why, what are oaths when given in guise like this,
With a sharp sword within an inch of my throat ?

Adela. No, not a sword, --a loving—trusting heart.
Harold. Ah! eyes like these shall never plead in vain,
Adela. Swear, then-
Harold. What boots it swearing ?

Will you swear ?
Harold. Aye—that I love you.

That you slay me rather !
Harold. That were false oathing.

Lift your hand, dear Harold
Harold (lifts his hand) There-

Adela. You will swear to aid my father's claims
To England's throne,-say but the words “I swear.”

Harold. And it will please you, gentle Adela, —
And smooth the furrowed brow of that grave priest,
And win Duke William ?

All--all !

Then I swear.
Folding doors open, and display an Altar covered as if for Mass Choristers

Priests, &c. Lanfranc in front.
Lanfranc. Heaven and the saints have heard you! If you change
Or break the compact firmness of this vow,
Earth, heaven and hell shall join to blast your name.
A curse shall weigh upon your sword,—your arm
Shrivel beneath it, in the day of battle.
Angels shall turn their eyes from off your face,
And love desert you like a tainted thing.
Such fate be his that breaks a sacred vow,
Vowed where all Holy Martyrs bend the ear.-
-Earl Harold ! such the vow they witness here.



William was hunting in the forest near Rouen, with a great company of knights, esquires, and noble dames and damsels, when a messenger just arrived from England accosted him, and announced the death of the Confessor and the coronation of Harold. The bow dropped out of the hand of the Norman duke, and he stood for a space like one petrified. He then fastened and undid his mantle, speaking no word, and looking so troubled and fierce that none durst speak to him. Then throwing himself into a skiff, he crossed the Seine, and went into his palace, still silent. Striding into the great hall, he threw himself into a chair, and, wrapping his head in his mantle, he bent his body towards the earth. The courtiers gazed upon him with amazement and alarm, and asked one another in whispers what this could mean. “Sirs,” said William de Breteuil, the seneschal, “ye will soon know the cause of our lord's anxiety.” At a few words spoken by the seneschal, the duke recovered from his reverie, removed the mantle from his face, and listened to one of his barons, who advised him to remind Harold of the oaths he had sworn, and demand from him the immediate surrender of the Confessor's crown.

Harold replied, that the crown of England was not his to give away.

When William the Norman prepared to invade England (which he did forthwith), he had reached the mature age of forty-two. He called to his aid not only his subjects of Normandy, but men from Maine and Anjou, from Poictou and Brittany, from the country of the French king and from Flanders, from Aquitaine and from Burgundy, from Piedmont beyond the Alps, and from the German countries beyond the river Rhine. The idle adventurers of one-half of Europe flocked to his standard. Some of these men demanded regular pay in money, others nothing but a passage across the Channel, and all the booty they might make; some of the chiefs demanded territory in England, while others simply bargained to have a rich English wife allotted to them. William sold beforehand a bishopric in England for a ship and twenty men-at-arms. The pope gave the Conqueror a holy licence to invade England, upon condition that the Norman duke should hold his conquest as a fief of the church ; and, together with a bull, a consecrated banner, and a ring of great price, containing one of the hairs of St. Peter, were sent from Rome into Normandy. So formidable an armament had not been collected in Western Europe for many centuries. The total number of vessels amounted to about three thousand, of which six hundred or seven hundred were of a superior order. When the expedition set sail, William led the van in a vessel which had been presented to him for the occasion by his wife Matilda : the vanes of the ship were gilded, the sails were of different bright colours, the three lions—the arms of Normandy-were painted in divers places, and the sculptured figure-head was a child with a bent bow, the arrow sceming ready to fly against the hostile and perjured land of England. The consecrated banner sent from Rome floated at the main-top-mast. This ship sailed faster than all the rest, and in the course of the night it left the whole flect far astern. Early in the moming the duke ordered a sailor to the mast-head to see if the other ships were coming up. “I can see nothing but the sea and sky," said the mariner; and thereupon they lay-to. To keep the crew and the soldiers on board in good heart, William ordered them a sumptuous breakfast, with warm wine strongly spiced. After this refection the mariner was again sent aloft, and this time he said he could make out four vessels in the distance; but mounting a third time, he shouted out with a merry voice, “Now I see a forest of masts and sails." Within a few hours the re-united Norinan fleet came to anchor or the Sussex coast. At that particular point the coast was flat, and the country behind it marshy and unpicturesque ; but a little to the left stood the noble Roman walls

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