The Visions of England eBook

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

Arabian hill; Mount Sinai.

Titanic features; See A Churchyard in Oxfordshire, st. iii.


November 5:  1640

Harsh words have been utter’d and written on her, Henrietta the Queen:  She was young in a difficult part, on a cruel and difficult scene:—­ Was it strange she should fail? that the King overmuch should bow down to her will?  —­So of old with the women, God bless them!—­it was, so will ever be still!  Rash in counsel and rash in courage, she aided and marr’d The shifting tides of the fight, the star of the Stuarts ill-starr’d.  In her the false Florentine blood,—­in him the bad strain of the Guise; Suspicion against her and hate, all that malice can forge and devise;—­ As a bird by the fowlers o’ernetted, she shuffles and changes her ground; No wile unlawful in war, and the foe unscrupulous round!  Woman-like overbelieving Herself and the Cause and the Man, Fights with two-edged intrigue, suicidal, plan upon plan; Till the law of this world had its way, and she fled,—­like a frigate unsail’d, Unmasted, unflagg’d,—­to her land; and the strength of the stronger prevail’d.

But it was not thus, not thus, in the years of thy springtide, O Queen, When thy children came in their beauty, and all their future unseen:  When the kingdom had wealth and peace, one smile o’er the face of the land:  England, too happy, if thou could’st thy happiness understand!  As those over Etna who slumber, and under them rankles the fire.  At her side was the gallant King, her first-love, her girlhood’s desire, And around her, best jewels and dearest to brighten the steps of the throne, Three golden heads, three fair little maids, in their nursery shone.  ‘As the mother, so be the daughters,’ they say:—­nor could mother wish more For her own, than men saw in the Queen’s, ere the rosebud-dawning was o’er, Heart-wise and head-wise, a joy to behold, as they knelt for her kiss,—­ Best crown of a woman’s life, her true vocation and bliss!—­ But the flowers were pale and frail, and the mother watch’d them with dread, As the sunbeams play’d round the room on each gay, glistening head.

Anne in that garden of childhood grew nearest Elizabeth:  she
Tenderly tended and loved her, a babe with a babe on her knee: 
Slight and white from the cradle was Anne; a floweret born
Rathe, out of season, a rose that peep’d out when the hedge was in thorn. 
‘Why should it be so with us?’ thought Elizabeth oft; for in her
The soul ’gainst the body protesting, was but more keenly astir: 
’As saplings stunted by forest around o’ershading, we two: 
What work for our life, my mother,’ she said, ’is left us to do? 
Or is’t from the evil to come, the days without pleasure, that God
In mercy would spare us, over our childhood outstretching the rod?’
—­So she, from her innocent heart; in all things seeing the best

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The Visions of England from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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