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Steel that may laugh at the swords and splinter the lances
of iron,
Deriding even the stones from the catapults groaning
and shrieking."
Then the prince he mounted his steed and rode down
the hill to the battle:
You have read of the knights of romancePerceforest,
Tristram, and Arthur,
The giant whose mantle was trimmed with the beards
of the kings he had vanquished
Launcelot, knight of the lake, and Percival, slayer of
Yet these, though noble and rich, were clad like labouring
Compared to the barons and earls who encircled the
Prince of Bohemia.—
Gabriel, Count of Bayonne, cried, "To-day is the saddest
of any,
Knights of Cyprus and Crete, if we beat not these
English in battle."

          *          *          *          *          *

Many the valorous deed as the axes shivered the lances,
As helms flashed sparkles of fire like the anvil under
the hammer;
Flights of arrows and bolts flew thick as the swallows in
'Gainst the puissant monarch's array, 'gainst the horses
blazoned and barded.
All the cross-bowmen of France led on the chosen
Close as the hairs of a brush were the numberless heads
of the lances,
And through them, like roar of the beasts heard by night
in a tropical forest,
Came cries of "St. Dennis for France," "St. Dennis for
France and the Lilies;"
As the sun, breaking out of a cloud, shone on the swords
and the armour,
While the trumpets were sounding, and rang with a
merry and chivalrous cadence,
As they blew, came flying a dove, and perched on the
staff of a banner;
Then they knew they were favoured of God, and
clamoured, and all moved together.
"Advance!" loud shouted the prince," and bear down
these ravening robbers."
Chandos, and Talbot, and Scrope, guarding the clusters
of archers;
The Duke of Athens is down, swept off by the hurrying
And under an oak in a lane, lies stretched Sir Reginald
Then, making the sign of the cross, and raising his
eyes unto Heaven,
"Now is the season for death," cried the prince, and
spurred to the rescue;
"Neville and Darcy and Scrope are hemming us in
with their horses;
Strike, for the glory of God, strike, for the flag of St.
Make us a way through the press, or die in the gap we
have cloven;
Such is the usage of knights to dig out a grave with
their axes;
Now, by St. Anthony's head, to the death of a knight
or to conquest."
Then the prince leaped again on his steed, and hurled in
the thick of the battle.


But a traitor and villanous spy ran to the King of
Tears in his treacherous eyes, and knelt at the feet of
the monarch.
"What tidings, Sir Knight, of my son? I fear he is
slain in the melée?"
"Alas!" said the traitor, "he's fled by the highway
leading to Paris,
Leaving his barons and flag to the care of his squires
and his yeomen."
''Nay, then,"the monarch replied," it is fit I should
fall in this battle,
Not caring an hour to survive this shame and this stain
on my honour."
As he spoke rolled down on his beard hot tears of
anger and sorrow.
"I will carry my banner to death through ranks of the
insolent foemen;
Ah! as God is my help, I will never return from the
By him, who weeping for us, died on the tree like a
Let us break the van of these slaves. Advance, Sir
Knight, with my banner.
Ye all are my vassals and friends," cried the king, as he
smothered his sorrow;
"Ye will not refuse the request of an old man weary
and broken;
I fain would strike with my sword, if only one blow in
this contest,
'Tis better to fall in the field than to die with one's head
on the pillow.
Tie my steed's bridle to yours, and lead me first with
my banner."
Then two of the stalwartest knights tied their three
bridles together,
And slow, and silent, and sad they rode down the hill to
the valley.


"My son, any tidings of him?" said the king, as an
archer came running,
And fell at the feet of his prince, wounded and feathered
with arrows.
"How goes the battle belowwhere is my son and his
"Ha! by St. Ives and St. Giles, and the crown of our
Lady in Heaven,
Schwartzhof and Hoffmann are dead, and half the
stout troopers of Binzlau."
"And my son?" "By the road that turns hard by
the neighbouring valley,
I saw him lopping his lance four feet from the wood of
the handle,
Doffing the spurs from his heels, and standing at bay
'mong the hunters;
His eyes half hid by the plumes that covered his brow
and his forehead;
He had stripped his trappings and gems, his helm was
dinted and cloven,
His sword was clotted and dark, and dark was his
visor and armour,
His red beard tangled and long fell on his breast and
His right hand, wielding an axe, was cleaving a road
through the archers;
Mowing a path to the tents he trampled the dead and
the dying.—
Seeing my armour and badge he waved me a proud
Through flights of arrows and stones, mid the terrible
roar of the engine,
Through thrustings of lances and blades, and sweepings
of two-handed falchions,
Through cleavings of gorgets and shields and clouds of
gathering banners,
Through shriekings, groanings, and cries, and curses,
and meanings to Heaven,
I came to render thee aid, loving thee chiefest of any."
"Go," said the monarch, and sighed. "Thou hast home
and a child to inherit.
My son is no traitor, thank God, but died in the heart
of the onslaught;
I am now childless and old, and life is to me but a
Go tell the monarch of France how the chief of Bohemia
Then slow and silent and sad the old blind king and his
Bound all their bridles together and rode down into the