Successful Recitations eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 540 pages of information about Successful Recitations.

Psalm-chanting came the shaven monks, within the camp of dread;
Amidst his warriors, Norman Rou stood taller by a head. 
Out spoke the Frank archbishop then, a priest devout and sage,
“When peace and plenty wait thy word, what need of war and rage? 
Why waste a land as fair as aught beneath the arch of blue,
Which might be thine to sow and reap?—­Thus saith the king to Rou: 

“’I’ll give thee all the ocean coast, from Michael Mount to Eure,
And Gille, my fairest child, as bride, to bind thee fast and sure;
If thou but kneel to Christ our God, and sheathe thy paynim sword,
And hold thy land, the Church’s son, a fief from Charles thy lord.’”
The Norman on his warriors looked—­to counsel they withdrew;
The Saints took pity on the Franks, and moved the soul of Rou.

So back he strode, and thus he spoke, to that archbishop meek,
“I take the land thy king bestows, from Eure to Michael-peak,
I take the maid, or foul or fair, a bargain with the coast,
And for thy creed,—­a sea-king’s gods are those that give the most. 
So hie thee back, and tell thy chief to make his proffer true,
And he shall find a docile son, and ye a saint in Rou.”

So o’er the border stream of Epte came Rou the Norman, where,
Begirt with barons, sat the king, enthroned at green St. Clair;
He placed his hand in Charles’s hand,—­loud shouted all the throng,
But tears were in King Charles’s eyes—­the grip of Rou was strong. 
“Now kiss the foot,” the bishop said, “that homage still is due;”
Then dark the frown and stern the smile of that grim convert Rou.

He takes the foot, as if the foot to slavish lips to bring;
The Normans scowl; he tilts the throne and backward falls the king. 
Loud laugh the joyous Norman men.—­pale stare the Franks aghast;
And Rou lifts up his head as from the wind springs up the mast: 
“I said I would adore a God, but not a mortal too;
The foot that fled before a foe let cowards kiss!” said Rou.

BINGEN ON THE RHINE.

BY THE HON.  MRS. NORTON.

A soldier of the Legion lay dying in Algiers—­
There was lack of woman’s nursing, there was dearth of woman’s tears;
But a comrade stood beside him, while his life-blood ebbed away,
And bent, with pitying glances, to hear what he might say. 
The dying soldier faltered, as he took that comrade’s hand,
And he said:  “I never more shall see my own, my native land;
Take a message and a token to some distant friends of mine,
For I was born at Bingen—­at Bingen on the Rhine!

“Tell my Brothers and Companions, when they meet and crowd around
To hear my mournful story, in the pleasant vineyard ground. 
That we fought the battle bravely—­and, when the day was done,
Full many a corse lay ghastly pale, beneath the setting sun. 
And midst the dead and dying, were some grown old in wars,—­
The death-wound on their gallant breasts, the last of many scars! 
But some were young,—­and suddenly beheld life’s morn decline,—­
And one there came from Bingen—­fair Bingen on the Rhine!

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Successful Recitations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.