The Visions of England eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 180 pages of information about The Visions of England.

As when October’s sun, long caught in a curtain of gray,
With a flood of impatient crimson breaks out, at the dying of day,
And trees and green fields, the hills and the skies, are all steep’d in
the stain;—­
So o’er the English one hope flamed forth, one moment,—­in vain! 
   As hail when the corn-fields are deep,
   Down the fierce arrow-points sweep: 
Now the basnets of France o’er the palisade frown;
The shield-fort is shatter’d; the Dragon is down.

O then there was dashing and dinting of axe and of broad-sword and spear: 
Blood crying out to blood:  and Hatred that casteth out fear! 
Loud where the fight is the loudest, the slaughter-breath hot in the air,
O what a cry was that!—­the cry of a nation’s despair! 
   —­Hew down the best of the land! 
   Down them with mace and with brand! 
The fell foreign arrow has crash’d to the brain;
England with Harold the Englishman slain!

Yet they fought on for their England! of ineffaceable fame
Worthy, and stood to the death, though the greedy sword, like a flame,
Bit and bit yet again in the solid ranks, and the dead
Heap where they die, and hills of foemen about them are spread:—­
   —­Hew down the heart of the land,
   There, to a man, where they stand! 
Till night with her blackness uncrimsons the stain,
And the merciful shroud overshadows our slain.

Heroes unburied, unwept!—­But a wan gray thing in the night
Like a marsh-wisp flits to and fro through the blood-lake, the steam of
the fight;
Turning the bodies, exploring the features with delicate touch;
Stumbling as one that finds nothing:  but now!—­as one finding too much: 
   Love through mid-midnight will see: 
   Edith the fair!  It is he! 
Clasp him once more, the heroic, the dear! 
Harold was England:  and Harold lies here.

The hide of the tanyard; See the story of Arlette or Herleva, the tanner’s daughter, mother to William ‘the Bastard.’

At Stamford; At Stamford Bridge, over the Derwent, Harold defeated his brother Tostig and Harold Hardrada, Sep 25, 1066.

Your castle; Harold’s triple palisade upon the hill of battle is so described by the chronicler, Henry of Huntingdon.

Rome’s gonfanon; The consecrated banner, sent to William from Rome.

The fierce standards; These were planted on the spot chosen by the Conqueror for the high-altar of the Abbey of Battle.  The Warrior was Harold’s ‘personal ensign.’

In a summer to be; June 18, 1815.

The ventayle; Used here for the nasale or nose-piece shown in the Bayeux Tapestry.


August 2:  1100

Where the greenwood is greenest
At gloaming of day,
Where the twelve-antler’d stag
Faces boldest at bay;
Where the solitude deepens,
Till almost you hear
The blood-beat of the heart
As the quarry slips near;
His comrades outridden
With scorn in the race,
The Red King is hallooing
His bounds to the chase.

Project Gutenberg
The Visions of England from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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