His proud submission, and his yielded pride,
Though dreading death, when she had marked long,
She felt compassion in her heart to slide,
And drizzling tears to gush that might not be denied.
And with her tears
she pour’d a sad complaint,
That softly echoed from the neighbouring wood;
While sad to see her sorrowful constraint,
The kingly beast upon her gazing stood:
With pity calm’d he lost all angry mood.
At length, in close breast shutting up her pain,
Arose the virgin born of heavenly brood,
And on her snowy palfrey rode again
To seek and find her knight, if him she might attain.
The lion would
not leave her desolate,
But with her went along, as a strong guard
Of her chaste person, and a faithful mate
Of her sad troubles and misfortunes hard:
Still when she slept, he kept both watch and ward,
And when she waked, he waited diligent
With humble service to her will prepared.
From her fair eyes he took commandment,
And ever by her looks conceived her intent.
* * * * *
[Illustration: Letter S.]
Seven miles from the sea-port of Boston, in Lincolnshire, lies the rural town of Swineshead, once itself a port, the sea having flowed up to the market-place, where there was a harbour. The name of Swineshead is familiar to every reader of English history, from its having been the resting-place of King John, after he lost the whole of his baggage, and narrowly escaped with his life, when crossing the marshes from Lynn to Sleaford, the castle of which latter place was then in his possession. The King halted at the Abbey, close to the town of Swineshead, which place he left on horseback; but being taken ill, was moved in a litter to Sleaford, and thence to his castle at Newark, where he died on the following day, in the year 1216.
Apart from this traditional interest, Swineshead has other antiquarian and historical associations. The circular Danish encampment, sixty yards in diameter, surrounded by a double fosse, was, doubtless, a post of importance, when the Danes, or Northmen, carried their ravages through England in the time of Ethelred I., and the whole country passed permanently into the Danish hands about A.D. 877. The incessant inroads of the Danes, who made constant descents on various parts of the coast, burning the towns and villages, and laying waste the country in all directions, led to that stain upon the English character, the Danish massacre. The troops collected to oppose these marauders always lost courage and fled, and their leaders, not seldom, set them the example. In