Imatges de pàgina

such a stupendous scene is almost overwhelming, for, with one exception, there is no contrast. It is all mountains in the picture, excepting St. Moritz, with its green lake, and two neighbouring villages, which lie, like a child's toy-garden, away down in the distant valley.

Dr. Manning



Full in the middle of this pleasantness
There stood a marble altar, with a tress
Of flowers budded newly; and the dew
Had taken fairy phantasies to strew
Daisies upon the sacred sward last eve,
And so the dawned light in pomp receive.
For 'twas the morn : Apollo's upward fire
Made every eastern cloud a silvery pyre
Of brightness so unsullied, that therein
A melancholy spirit well might win
Oblivion, and melt out his essence fine
Into the winds; rain-scented eglantine 2
Gave temperate sweets to that well-wooing sun;
The lark was lost in him ; cold springs had run
To warm their chilliest bubbles in the grass;
Man's voice was on the mountains; and the mass
Of nature's lives and wonders pulsed tenfold,
To feel this sun-rise and its glories old.

Now while the silent workings of the dawn
Were busiest, into that self-same lawn
All suddenly, with joyful cries, there sped
A troop of little children garlanded;
Who gathering round the altar, seemed to pry
Earnestly round as wishing to espy
Some folk of holiday : nor had they waited
For many moments, ere their ears were sated
With a faint breath of music, which e’en then
Filled out its voice, and died away again.
Within a little space again it gave
Its airy swellings, with a gentle wave,
To light-hung leaves, in smoothest echoes breaking
Through copse-clad valleys,ere their death, o'ertaking
The surgy murmurs of the lonely sea.

And now, as deep into the wood as we
Might mark a lynx's eye, there glimmer'd light
Fair faces and a rush of garments white,
Plainer and plainer showing, till at last
Into the widest alley they all passed,
Making directly for the woodland altar.
O kindly muse ! let not my weak tongue falter
In telling of this goodly company,
Of their old piety, and of their glee:
But let a portion of ethereal dew
Fall on my head, and presently unmew 3
My soul : that I may dare, in wayfaring,
To stammer where old Chaucer used to sing.

Leading the way, young damsels danced along,
Bearing the burden of a shepherd song;
Each having a white wicker, over-brimmed
With April's tender younglings: next, well trimm'd,

A crowd of shepherds with as sunburnt looks
As may be read of in Arcadian books;
Such as sat listening round Apollo's pipe,
When the great Deity, for earth too ripe,
Let his divinity o'erflowing die
In music, through the vales of Thessaly ;
Some idly trail'd their sheep-hooks on the ground,
And some kept up a shrilly mellow sound
With ebon-tipped flutes : close after these,
Now coming from beneath the forest trees,
A venerable priest full soberly,
Begirt with ministering looks : alway his eye
Steadfast upon the matted turf he kept,
And after him his sacred vestments swept.
From his right hand there swung a vase, milk-white,
Of mingled winé, out-sparkling generous light;
And in his left he held a basket full
Of all sweet herbs that searching eye could cull;
Wild thyme, and valley-lilies whiter still
Than Leda's love,4 and cresses from the rill.
His aged head, crowned with beechen wreath,
Seemed like a poll of ivy in the teeth
Of winter hoar. Then came another crowd
Of shepherds, lifting in due time aloud
Their share of the ditty. After them appear’d,
Up-followed by a multitude that rear'd
Their voices to the clouds, a fair-wrought car
Easily rolling so as scarce to mar
The freedom of three steeds of dapple brown:
Who stood therein did seem of great renown
Among the throng. His youth was fully blown,
Showing like Ganymedes to manhood grown;
And, for those simple times, his garments were
A chieftain king's; beneath his breast, half bare,

Was hung a silver bugle, and between
His nervy knees there lay a boar-spear keen.
A smile was on his countenance; he seem'd,
To common lookers-on, like one who dream'd
Of idleness in groves Elysian :
But there were some who feelingly could scan
A lurking trouble in his nether lip,
And see that oftentimes the reins would slip
Through his forgotten hands : then would they sigh,
And think of yellow leaves, of owlets' cry,
Of logs piled solemnly. O well-a-day,
Why should our young Endymion pine away!

John Keats.



THE long interval between the accession of Edward I. and his coronation (owing to his absence in the Holy Land) reduced it more nearly to the level of a mere ceremony than it had ever been before. He was also the first sovereign who discontinued the commemoration of the event in wearing the crown in state at the three festivals." But in itself it was a peculiarly welcome day, as the return from his perilous journey. It was the first coronation in the Abbey as it now appears, bearing the fresh marks of his father's munificence. He and his beloved Eleanor appeared together, the first king and queen who had been jointly crowned. His mother, the elder Eleanor, was present. Archbishop Kilwarby officiated as Primate. On the following day Alexander III. of Scotland, whose armorial bearings were hung in the choir of the Abbey, did homage. For the honour of so martial a king, five hundred great horses-on some of which Edward and his brother Edmund, with their attendants, had ridden to the banquet-were let loose among the crowd, any one to take them for his own as he could.

* From Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey.

There was, however, another change effected in the coronations by Edward, which, unlike most of the incidents related in this chapter, has a direct bearing on the Abbey itself. Besides the ceremonies of unctionand coronation, which properly belonged to the consecration of the kings, there was one more closely connected with the original practice of election—that of raising the sovereign aloft into an elevated seat. In the Frankish tribes, as also in the Roman Empire, this was done by a band of warriors lifting the chosen chief on their shields, of which a trace lingered in the French coronations, in raising the king to the top of the screen between the choir and naye. But the more ordinary usage, amongst the Gothic and Celtic races, was to place him on a huge natural stone, which had been, or was henceforth, invested with a magical sanctity. On such a stone, “the great stone(morasten), still visible on the grave of Odin

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