The Visions of England eBook

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

The treasured ore; nor Alexander’s name
   Know, nor fair Helen’s shame;
Or in his tent how Peleus’ wrathful son
   Looks toward the sea, nor heeds
The towers of still-unconquer’d Ilion.

Belerium; The name given to the Land’s End by Diodorus, the Greek historical compiler.  He describes the natives as hospitable and civilized.  They mined tin, which was bought by traders and carried through Gaul to the south-east, and may, as suggested here, have been used in their armour by the warriors during the Homeric Siege of Troy.



The black-hair’d gaunt Paulinus
   By ruddy Edwin stood:—­
’Bow down, O King of Deira,
   Before the holy Rood! 
Cast forth thy demon idols,
   And worship Christ our Lord!’
—­But Edwin look’d and ponder’d,
   And answer’d not a word.

Again the gaunt Paulinus
   To ruddy Edwin spake: 
’God offers life immortal
   For His dear Son’s own sake! 
Wilt thou not hear his message
   Who bears the Keys and Sword?’
—­But Edwin look’d and ponder’d,
   And answer’d not a word.

Rose then a sage old warrior;
   Was five-score winters old;
Whose beard from chin to girdle
   Like one long snow-wreath roll’d:—­
’At Yule-time in our chamber
   We sit in warmth and light,
While cavern-black around us
   Lies the grim mouth of Night.

’Athwart the room a sparrow
   Darts from the open door: 
Within the happy hearth-light
   One red flash,—­and no more! 
We see it born from darkness,
   And into darkness go:—­
So is our life, King Edwin! 
   Ah, that it should be so!

’But if this pale Paulinus
   Have somewhat more to tell;
Some news of whence and whither,
   And where the Soul may dwell:—­
If on that outer darkness
   The sun of Hope may shine;—­
He makes life worth the living! 
   I take his God for mine!’

So spake the wise old warrior;
   And all about him cried
‘Paulinus’ God hath conquer’d! 
   And he shall he our guide:—­
For he makes life worth living,
   Who brings this message plain,—­
When our brief days are over,
   That we shall live again.’

Paulinus was one of the four missionaries sent form Rome by Gregory the Great in 601.  The marriage of Edwin, King of Northumbria, with Ethelburga, sister to Eadbald of Kent, opened Paulinus’ way to northern England.  Bede, born less than fifty years after, has given an admirable narrative of Edwin’s conversion:  which is very completely told in Bright’s Early English Church History, B. IV.

Deira, (from old-Welsh deifr, waters), then comprised Eastern Yorkshire from Tees to Humber.  Goodmanham, where the meeting described was held, is some 23 miles from York.


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The Visions of England from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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