In all our Brittany
    There’s not a fairer,
Nor can you fit any
    Should you compare her.
Angels her eyelids keep,
    All hearts surprising;
Which look whilst she doth sleep
    Like the sun’s rising:
She alone of her kind
    Knoweth true measure,
And her unmatchàed mind
    Is heaven’s treasure.
               On thy bank ...

Fair Dove and Darwen clear,
    Boast ye your beauties,
To Trent your mistress here
    Yet pay your duties:
My Love was higher born
    Tow’rds the full fountains,
Yet she doth moorland scorn
    And the Peak mountains;
Nor would she none should dream
    Where she abideth,
Humble as is the stream
    Which by her slideth.
               On thy bank ...

Yet my poor rustic Muse
    Nothing can move her,
Nor the means I can use,
    Though her true lover:
Many a long winter’s night
    Have I waked for her,
Yet this my piteous plight
    Nothing can stir her.
All thy sands, silver Trent,
    Down to the Humber,
The sighs that I have spent
    Never can number.
               On thy bank,
               In a rank,
               Let thy swans sing her,
             And with their music
               Along let them bring her.

129Z   Agincourt

FAIR stood the wind for France
When we our sails advance,
Nor now to prove our chance
        Longer will tarry;
But putting to the main,
At Caux, the mouth of Seine,
With all his martial train
        Landed King Harry.

And taking many a fort,
Furnish’d in warlike sort,
Marcheth tow’rds Agincourt
        In happy hour;
Skirmishing day by day
With those that stopp’d his way,
Where the French gen’ral lay
        With all his power.

Which, in his height of pride,
King Henry to deride,
His ransom to provide
        Unto him sending;
Which he neglects the while
As from a nation vile,
Yet with an angry smile
        Their fall portending.

And turning to his men,
Quoth our brave Henry then,
‘Though they to one be ten
        Be not amazàed:
Yet have we well begun;
Battles so bravely won
Have ever to the sun
        By fame been raisàed.

‘And for myself (quoth he):
This my full rest shall be:
England ne’er mourn for me
        Nor more esteem me:
Victor I will remain
Or on this earth lie slain,
Never shall she sustain
        Loss to redeem me.

‘Poitiers and Cressy tell,
When most their pride did swell,
Under our swords they fell:
        No less our skill is
Than when our grandsire great,
Claiming the regal seat,
By many a warlike feat
        Lopp’d the French lilies.’

The Duke of York so dread
The eager vaward led;
With the main Henry sped
        Among his henchmen.
Excester had the rear,
A braver man not there;
O Lord, how hot they were
        On the false Frenchmen!

They now to fight are gone,
Armour on armour shone,
Drum now to drum did groan,
        To hear was wonder;
That with the cries they make
The very earth did shake:
Trumpet to trumpet spake,
        Thunder to thunder.

Well it thine age became,
O noble Erpingham,
Which didst the signal aim
        To our hid forces!
When from a meadow by,
Like a storm suddenly
The English archery
        Stuck the French horses.

With Spanish yew so strong,
Arrows a cloth-yard long
That like to serpents stung,
        Piercing the weather;
None from his fellow starts,
But playing manly parts,
And like true English hearts
        Stuck close together.

When down their bows they threw,
And forth their bilbos1 drew,
And on the French they flew,
        Not one was tardy;
Arms were from shoulders sent,
Scalps to the teeth were rent,
Down the French peasants went—
        Our men were hardy!

This while our noble king,
His broadsword brandishing,
Down the French host did ding
        As to o’erwhelm it;
And many a deep wound lent,
His arms with blood besprent,
And many a cruel dent
        Bruisàed his helmet.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.