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ALFRED

About 890.

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BEHOLD a pupil of the monkish gown!

The pious Alfred, king to justice dear,

Lord of the harp and liberating spear; Mirror of princes! Indigent renown? Might range the starry ether for a crown

Equal to his deserts," who like the year

Pours forth his bounty, like the day doth cheer, And awes the night with mercy-temper'd frown;

Ease from this noble miser of his time
No moment steals; painê narrows not his cares.

Though small his kingdom, as a spark or gem,

Of Alfred hears remote Jerusalem", And Christian India, through her wide-spread clime, In sacred converse, gifts with Alfred shares.

WORDSWORTH.

8

· His tutor was St. Swithun, a monk, afterwards Bishop of Win. chester.

Fame in want of some one to celebrate. 3 The air, here meaning the firmament. 4 What he deserves. 5 Hoarding up time. 6 He never passed a day without suffering. 7 He sent offerings to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

8 Alfred sent messages and gifts to the Christian Church of St. Thomas, ia Malabar.

DEATH OF EDWIN THE FAIR.

958 or 959.

Edwin had married Elgiva. Archbishop Odo and Dunstan, then Abbot of Glastonbury, endeavoured to separate them because they were nearer of kin than those the Church permitted to wed. A war ensued, in which Elgiva was made prisoner, and died of the cruel treatment she suffered. Edwin, who had been badly wounded, became delirious, tore off his bandages and died. In the scene that follows, Elgiva's corpse is lying on a bier about to be buried.

DUNSTAN.

What corse is this?

A MONK.

The Queen's,' my lord, awaiting burial.

DUNSTAN,

Hers?
Withdraw the winding-sheet, that once again
I may behold her. Art thou she indeed?
The blankness of mortality in thee
Seems more than in another! Where be now
The flushings of the fervent cheek, the fires
That lightened from those eyes? O rueful sight!
Methinks that thou dost look reproachfully.
Not me--not me-upbraid me not, pale queen!
I slew thee not, nor yet desired thy death.

· Properly speaking the Saxon kings' wives were not called queens, but ladies.

I would have will'd thee to repent and live,
But lo! the will of God hath mastered mine.
Better be so than be the living cause
Of deaths eternal, and a nation's lapse
To mortal sin. Nor sin nor sorrow now
Hath power upon thee; nor canst thou, fair mask,
Be ever more their minister.

1

Enter ATTENDANT.

My lord, The king, so please you

DUNSTAN.

What sir, of the king ?

ATTENDANT.
He is again delirious, and hath torn
The bandage from his wound; he bleeds amain.

Enter another ATTENDANT. My lord, the king! the king!

DUNSTAN.

What, comes he hither?

Enter EDWIN, followed by a physician. Where art thou, my beloved ? Come to me; Art thou not here? They said so, but 'twas false ;

He calls Elgiva's face a mask.

Thou are not here, for if thou wast I know
Thou’dst fly to meet me.

Ha! I see thee now
And yet thou movest not. What! in chains again?
Not so, Elgiva ; thou art free, my love,
I smote them with the sword. Oh! come to me!
Give me thine hand,

DUNSTAN.

Doctor, thou mad'st report The fever had abated.

PHYSICIAN.

Had, my lord,

But rages now afresh.

DUNSTAN.

How came he hither ?

ATTENDANT.
He asked us if the queen were buried yet,
Or where the body lay. We told him here,
And he commanded we should bring him.

DUNSTAN.

See!

EDWIN.

Thy hand is very cold. Come, come, look up,
Hast not a word to say to so much love?

Well, as thou wilt-but 'twas not always thus,
So soon to be forgotten. Oh, so soon!
And I have lov'd so truly all this while ;
I dream–I do but dream, I think. What's here?
'Tis not the dress that thou wert wont to wear.
This is a corpse ! Attendance here! What ho,
Who was so bold to bring a stone cold corpse
Into the king's apartments ? Stop-be still-
I know not that! Give me but time, my friends,
And I will tell you.

PHYSICIAN.

Draw him from the corpse. The loss of blood that drains the fever off Anon will bring him to himself.

EDWIN.

But hark !
An angel's song! 'Tis Dunstan that I see-
Rebellious monk! I lay my body down
Here at thy feet to die, but not my soul,
Which goes to God. The cry of innocent blood
Is up against thee, and the avenger's cry
Shall answer it! Support me, sirs, I pray ;
Be patient with me-There was something still,
I know not what—under your pardon-Yes.
Touching my burial-Did I not see but now
Another corpse-I pray you, sirs—there—there?

[Dies.
SIR HENRY TAYLOR.

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