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As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side
He wound with toilsome march his long array.
On a rock, whose haughty brow
Robed in the sable garb of woe,
Ver. 11. -of Snowdon's shaggy side] Snowdon was a name given by the Saxons to that mountainous tract: it included all the highlands of Caernarvonshire and Merionethshire, as far east as the river Conway.
Ver. 13. Stout Glo'ster] Gilbert de Clare, sarnamed the Red, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford ; married at Westminster, May 2, 1290, to Joan de Acres or Acon (so called from having been born at Acon in the Holy Land) second daughter of King Edward. He died 1295,
Ver. 14. “ To arms!” cried Mortimer] Edmond de Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore.
They both were Lord Marchers, whose lands lay on the borders of Wales, and probably accompanied the king in this expedition.
Ver. 19. Loose his beard, and hoary hair] The image was taken from a well known picture by Raphael, representing the Supreme Being in the vision of Ezekiel,
Hark, how each giant-oak, and desert-cave,
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath! O'er thee, oh King! their hundred arms they wave,
Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe;
since Cambria's fatal day,
“ Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
That hush'd the stormy main :
Modred, whose magic song
On dreary Arvon's shore they lie,
The famish'd eagle screams, and passes by. Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes,
The shric Ninieks
The sco Amaze
Ver. 35. On dreary Arvon's shore they lie] The shores of Caernarvonshire opposite to the isle of Anglesey.
Ver. 38. The famish'd eagle screams, and passes by] Camden and others observe, that eagles used annually to build their aerie among the rocks of Snowdon, which from thence (as some think) were named by the Welsh Craigian-eryri, or the crags of the eagles. At this day the highest point of Snowdon is called the Eagle's Nest. That bird is certainly no stranger to this island, as the Scots, and the people of Cumberland, Westmoreland, &c. can testify: it even has built its nest in the peak of Derbyshire. (See Willoughby's Ornithology, published by Ray.)
Ver. ring) E
Ver the I
Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
Ye died amidst your dying country's cries-
On yonder cliffs a grisly band,
Avengers of their native land:
Give ample room, and verge enough
She-wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs,
From thee be born, who o’er thy country hangs
Ver. 48. And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line]
Ver. 55. The shrieks of death, through Berkley's roof that ring] Edward the Second, cruelly butchered in Berkley Castle.
Ver. 57. She-wolf of France] Isabel of France, Edward the Second's adulterous queen.
Ver. 60. The scourge of Heaven] Triumphs of Edward the Third in France.
II. 2. “ Mighty victor, mighty Lord ! Low on his funeral couch he lies !
No pitying heart, no eye, afford
Is the sable warrior fied ?
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm
Youth on the prow, and pleasure at the helm;
Ver. 64. Low on his funeral couch he lies) Death of that king, abandoned by his children, and even robbed in his last moments by his courtiers and his mistress. · Ver. 67. Is the sable warrior fled] Edward the Black Prince, dead some time before his father.
Ver. 71. Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows] Magnificence of Richard the Second's reign. See Froissart, and other contemporary writers.
Ver. 77. Fill high the sparkling bowl] Richard the Second, as we are told by Archbishop Scroop and the confederate Lords in their manifesto, by Thomas of Walsingham, and all the older writers, was starved to death. The story of his assassination, by Sir Piers of Exon, is of much later date.
Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast: Close by the regal chair
Fell Thirst and Famine scowl
A baleful smile upon their baffled guest. Heard ye the din of battle bray,
Lance to lance, and horse to horse ?
Long years of havock urge their destined course, And through the kindred squadrons mow their way.
Ye towers of Julius, London's lasting shame, With many a foul and midnight murder fed,
Revere bis consort's faith, his father's fame, And spare the meek usurper's holy head. Above, below, the rose of snow,
Twined with her blushing foe, we spread:
Ver. 83. Heard ye the din of battle bray] Ruinous wars of York and Lancaster. Ver. 87. Ye towers of Julius, London's lasting shame,
With many a foul and midnight murder fed] Henry the Sixth, George Duke of Clarence, Edward the Fifth, Richard Duke of York, &c. believed to be murdered secretly in the Tower of London. The oldest part of that structure is vulgarly attributed to Julius Cæsar.
Ver. 89. Revere his consort's faith] Margaret of Anjou, a woman of heroic spirit, who struggled bard to save her husband and her crown.
Ibid. his father's fane) Henry the Fifth.
Ver. 90. And spare the meek usurper's holy head] Henry the Sixth, very near being canonized. The line of Lancaster had no right of inheritance to the crown.
Ver. 91. Above, below, the rose of snow] The white and red roses, devices of York and Lancaster.