—Heroes both! by
In days perplex’d ’tween new and old,
Each at his will the realm to mould;
This, basing sovereignty on the single head,
This, on the many voices of the Hall:—
Each for his own creed
Prompt to die at need:
His side of England’s shield each saw, and took for all.
Heroes both! For Order
And one for Freedom dying!—We
May judge more justly both, than ye
Could, each, his brother, ere the strife was done!
—O Goddess of that even scale and weight,
In whose awful eyes
Truest mercy lies,
This hero-dirge to thee I vow and dedicate!
foe is by,—
Through Hazeley mead the warrior goes,
And hardly fords the brook that flows
Bearing to Thame its cool, sweet, summer-cry.
Here take thy rest; here bind the broken heart!
By death’s mercy-doom
Hid from ills to come,
Great soul, and greatly vex’d, Hampden!—in peace depart!
In the heart of the fields he loved and the hills,
Look your last, and lay him to rest,
With the faded flower, the wither’d grass;
Where the blood-face of war and the myriad ills
Of England dear like phantoms pass
And touch not the soul that is with the Blest.
Bury him in the night and peace of the holy grave,
Where he cannot see the land that he could not save!
Bury him, bury him, bury him
With his face downward!
John Hampden met his death at Chalgrove in an attempt to check the raids which Prince Rupert was making from Oxford. Struck at the onset in the shoulder by two carabine balls, he rode off before the action was ended by Hazeley towards Thame, finding it impossible to reach Pyrton, the home of his father-in-law. The body was carried to his own house amid the woods and hills of the Chiltern country, and buried in the church close by.
With his face downward; This was the dying request of some high-minded Spaniard of old, unwilling, even in the grave, as it were, to look on the misfortunes of his country.
O’erstrode the bounds; ‘After every allowance has been made,’ says Hallam, speaking of the Long Parliament from a date so early as August, 1641, ’he must bring very heated passions to the records of those times, who does not perceive in the conduct of that body a series of glaring violations, not only of positive and constitutional, but of those higher principles which are paramount to all immediate policy’: (Const. Hist. ch. ix).
The axe; A clear and impartial sketch of Stafford’s trial will be found in Ranke (B. viii): who deals dispassionately and historically with an event much obscured by declamation in popular narratives. Even in Hallam’s hand the balance seems here to waver a little.
Heroes both;—Each his side; See Appendix B.