Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

situation, might be considered as an augury of no small consequence. He ushered him into one of the wherries which lay ready to attend the queen's barge, which was already proceeding up the river.

LXL—RALEIGH'S FIRST INTERVIEW WITH THE QUE EX.

TART SECOND.

THE two rowers used their oars with such expedition at the signal of the Gentleman Pensioner, that they very soon brought their little skiff under the stern of the queen's boat, where she sat beneath an awning, attended by two or three ladies and the nobles of her household. She looked more than once at the wherry in which the young adventurer was seated, spoke to those around her, and seemed to laugh.

2. At length one of the attendants, by the queen's order apparently, made a sign for the wherry to come alongside, and the young man was desired to step from his own skiff into the queen's barge, which he performed with graceful agility at the fore part of the boat, and was brought aft to the queen's presence. The youth underwent the gaze of Majesty, not the less gracefiuly that his self-possessi6n was mingled with embarrassment. The muddied cloak still hung on his arm, and formed the natural topic with which the queen introduced the conversation.

3. "You have this day spoiled a gay mantle in our service, young man. We thank you for your service, though the- manner of offering it was unusual, and something bold."

4. "In a sovereign's need," answered the youth, "it is each liegeman's duty to be bold."

5. "By my word, that was well said, my lord," said the queen, turning to a grave person who sat by her, and answered with a grave inclination of the head, and something of a mumbled assent. "Well, young man, your gallantry shall not go unrewarded. Go to the wardrobekeeper, and he shall have orders to supply the suit which you have cast away in our service. Thou shalt have a suit, and that of the newest cut, I promise thee, on the word of a princess."

6. "May it please your grace," said Walter, hesitating, "it is not for so humble a servant of your Majesty to measure out your bounties; but if it became me to choose—"

7. "Thou wouldst have gold, I warrant me," said the queen, interrupting him; "fie, young man! I take shame to say, that, in our capital, such and so various are the means of thriftless folly, that to give gold to youth is giving fuel to fire, and furnishing them with the means of selfdestruction. If I live and reign, those means of unchristian excess shall be abridged. Yet thou mayest be poor," she added, "or thy parents may be. It shall be gold, if thou wilt, but thou shalt answer to me for the use on V

8. Walter waited patiently until the queen had done, and then modestly assured her that gold was still less in his wish than the raiment her Majesty had before offered.

9. "How, boy!" said the queen, "neither gold nor garment? What is it thou wouldst have of me, then?"

10. "Only permission, madam—if it is not asking too high an honor—permission to wear the cloak which did you this trifling service."

11. "Permission to wear thine own cloak, thou silly boy!" said the queen.

12. "It is no longer mine," said Walter; "when your Majesty's foot touched it, it became a fit mantle for a prince, but far too rich a one for its former owner."

13. The queen again blushed, and endeavored to cover, by laughing, a slight degree of not unpleasing surprise and confusion.

14. "Heard you ever the like, my lords? The youth's head is turned with reading romances. I must know something of him, that I may send him safe to his friends. What art thou?"

15. "Raleigh is my name, most gracious queen, the youngest son of a large but honorable family of Devonshire."

16. "Raleigh?" said Elizabeth, after a moment's recollection; "have we not heard of your service in Ireland?"

17. "I have been so fortunate as to do some service there, madam," replied Raleigh, "scarce, however, of consequence sufficient to reach your Grace's ears."

18. "They hear farther than you think of," said the queen, graciously, "and have heard of a youth who defended a ford in Shannon against a whole band of wild Irish rebels, until the stream ran purple with their blood and his own."

19. "Some blood I may have lost," said the youth, looking down, "but it was where my best is due, and that is in your Majesty's service."

20. The queen paused, and then said, hastily, "You are very young to have fought so well, and to speak so well. Hark ye, Master Raleigh; wear thy muddy cloak till our pleasure be farther known. And here," she added, giving him a jewel of gold, in the form of a chess-man, "I give thee this to wear at the collar."

21. Raleigh, to whom Nature had taught intuitively, as it were, those courtly arts which many scarce acquire from long experience, knelt, and, as he took from her hand the jewel, kissed the fingers which gave it. He knew, perhaps better than almost any of the courtiers who surrounded her, how to mingle the devotion claimed by the queen with the gallantry due to her personal beauty; and in this, his first attempt to unite them, he succeeded so well, as at once to gratify Elizabeth's personal vanity and her love of

power.

Walter Scott.

LXIL—THE SOJVG OF THE FORGE.

ALL.

Clang, clang!

FIRST VOICE.

The massive anvils ring.

ALL.

Clang, clang!

FIRST VOICE.

A hundred hammers swing, Like the thunder-rattle of a tropic sky, The mighty blows still multiply.

ALL.

Clang, clang!

FIRST VOICE.

Say, brothers of the dusky brow,

What are your strong arms forging now?

Clang, clang! We forge the colter now,-
The colter of the kindly plow.

SECOND VOICE.

Prosper it, Heaven, and bless our toil!
May its broad furrow still unbind
To genial rains, to sun and wind,

The most benignant soil!

ALL.

Clang, clang!

THIRD VOICE.

Our colter's course shall be
On many a sweet and sheltered lea,
By many a streamlet's silver tide,
Amid the song of morning birds,
Amid the low of sauntering herds,

« ForrigeFortsæt »