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XXVIII, - INFLUENCE ABUSED. URGED by Ambition, who with subtlest skill Changes her means, the Enthusiast as a dupe Shall soar, and as a hypocrite can stoop, And turn the instruments of good to ill, Moulding the credulous People to his will. Such DUNSTAN ; - from its Benedictine coop Issues the master Mind, at whose fell swoop The chaste affections tremble to fulfil Their purposes. Behold, pre-signified, The Might of spiritual sway! his thoughts, his dreams, Do in the supernatural world abide: So vaunt a throng of Followers, filled with pride In shows of virtue pushed to its extremes, And sorceries of talent misapplied.
XXIX. — DANISH CONQUESTS. WoE to the Crown that doth the Cowl obey ! * Dissension checks the arms that would restrain The incessant Rovers of the Northern Main; And widely spreads once more a Pagan sway: But Gospel-truth is potent to allay Fierceness and rage; and soon the cruel Dane Feels, through the influence of her gentle reign, His native superstitions melt away. Thus, often, when thick gloom the east o'ershrouds, The full-orbed Moon, slow-climbing, doth appear Silently to consume the heavy clouds; How no one can resolve; but every eye Around her sees, while air is hushed, a clear And widening circuit of ethereal sky.
. * See note, p, 198.'
XXX. — CANUTE. A PLEASANT music floats along the Mere, From Monks in Ely chanting service high, Whileas Canùte the King is rowing by: “ My Oarsmen," quoth the mighty King, “ draw near, “ That we the sweet song of the Monks may hear!” He listens (all past conquests and all schemes Of future vanishing like empty dreams) Heart-touched, and haply not without a tear. The Royal Minstrel, ere the choir is still, While his free Barge skim's the smooth flood along, Gives to that rapture an accordant Rhyme. * O suffering Earth! be thankful; sternest clime And rudest age are subject to the thrill Of heaven-descended Piety and Song.
XXXI. — THE NORMAN CONQUEST.
* Which is still extant.
XXXII. — THE COUNCIL OF CLERMONT. “ And shall,” the Pontiff asks, “profaneness flow “ From Nazareth — source of Christian Piety, “ From Bethlehem, from the Mounts of Agony “ And glorified Ascension ? Warriors, go, “ With prayers and blessings we your path will sow; " Like Moses hold our hands erect, till ye “ Have chased far off by righteous victory “ These sons of Amalec, or laid them low !” “ GOD WILLETH IT,” the whole assembly cry; Shout which the enraptured multitude astounds! The Council-roof and Clermont's towers reply ; “ God willeth it," from hill to hill rebounds, And, in awe-stricken Countries far and nigh, Through “Nature's hollow arch” the voice resounds.*
XXXIII. — CRUSADES. The turbaned Race are poured in thickening swarms Along the West; though driven from Aquitaine, The Crescent glitters on the towers of Spain; And soft Italia feels renewed alarms; The scimitar, that yields not to the charms Of ease, the narrow Bosphorus will disdain ; Nor long (that crossed) would Grecian hills detain Their tents, and check the current of their arms. Then blame not those who, by the mightiest lever Known to the moral world, Imagination, Upheave (so seems it) from her natural station All Christendom :- they sweep along (was never So huge a host!) — to tear from the Unbeliever The precious Tomb, their haven of salvation.
* The decision of this council was believed to be instantly known in remote parts of Europe,
XXXIV. — RICHARD 1. REDOUBTED King, of courage leonine, I mark thee, Richard ! urgent to equip Thy warlike person with the staff and scrip; I watch thee sailing o'er the midland brine; In conquered Cyprus see thy Bride decline Her blushing cheek, love-vows upon her lip, And see love-emblems streaming from thy ship, As thence she holds her way to Palestine. My Song (a fearless Homager) would attend Thy thundering battle-axe as it cleaves the press Of war, but duty summons her away To tell — how, finding in the rash distress Of those enthusiast powers a constant Friend, Through giddier heights hath clomb the Papal sway,
· XXXV. — AN INTERDICT. REALMS quake by turns : proud Arbitress of grace, The Church, by mandate shadowing forth the power She arrogates o'er heaven's eternal door, Closes the gates of every sacred place. Straight from the sun and tainted air's embrace All sacred things are covered: cheerful morn Grows sad as night — no seemly garb is worn, Nor is a face allowed to meet a face With natural smile of greeting. Bells are dumb; Ditches are graves — funereal rites denied ; And in the Church-yard he must take his Bride Who dares be wedded ! Fancies thickly come Into the pensive heart ill fortified, And comfortless despairs the soul benumb,
XXXVI. - PAPAL ABUSES, As with the Stream our voyage we pursue, The gross materials of this world present A marvellous study of wild accident'; Uncouth proximities of old and new; And bold transfigurations, more untrue (As might be deemed) to disciplined intent Than aught the sky's fantastic element, When most fantastic, offers to the view. Saw we not Henry scourged at Becket's shrine ? Lo! John self-stripped of his insignia: — crown, Sceptre and mantle, sword and ring, laid down At a proud Legate's feet! The spears that line Baronial Halls, the opprobrious insult feel; And angry Ocean roars a vain appeal.
XXXVII. — SCENE IN VENICE. BLACK Demons hovering o'er his mitred head, To Cæsar's Successor the Pontiff spake; - Ere I absolve thee, stoop ! that on thy neck “ Levelled with Earth this foot of mine may tread.” Then, he who to the Altar had been led, He, whose strong arm the Orient could not check, He, who had held the Soldan at his beck, Stooped, of all glory disinherited, And even the common dignity of man ! Amazement strikes the crowd ; -while many turn Their eyes away in sorrow, others burn With scorn, invoking a vindictive ban From outraged Nature ; but the sense of most In abject sympathy with power is lost.