terros of ancient Kings
Descend from the gloom and wander thro' the palace, and weep round the King and his Nobles;
While loud thunders roll, troubling the dead. Kings are sick throughout all the earth!
The voice ceas'd: the Nation sat; and the triple forg'd fetters of times were unloos'd.
The voice ceas'd: the Nation sat; but ancient darkness and trembling wander thro' the palace.

As in day of havoc and routed battle among thick shades of discontent, On the soul-skirting mountains of sorrow cold waving, the Nobles fold round the King;
Each stern visage lock'd up as with strong bands of iron, each strong limb bound down as with marble,
In flames of red wrath burning, bound in astonishment a quarter of an hour.

Then the King glow'd: his Nobles fold round, like the sun of old time quench'd in clouds;
In their darkness the King stood; his heart flam'd, and utter'd a with'ring heat, and these words burst forth:

`The nerves of five thousand years' ancestry tremble, shaking the heavens of France;
Throbs of anguish beat on brazen war foreheads; they descend and look into their graves.
I see thro' darkness, thro' clouds rolling round me, the spirits of ancient Kings
Shivering over their bleachèd bones; round them their counsellors look up from the dust,
Crying: "Hide from the living! Our bonds and our prisoners shout in the open field.
Hide in the nether earth! Hide in the bones! Sit obscurèd in the hollow scull!
Our flesh is corrupted, and we wear away. We are not numberèd among the living. Let us hide
In stones, among roots of trees. The prisoners have burst their dens.
Let us hide! let us hide in the dust! and plague and wrath and tempest shall cease."'
He ceas'd, silent pond'ring; his brows folded heavy, his forehead was in affliction.
Like the central fire from the window he saw his vast armies spread over the hills,
Breathing red fires from man to man, and from horse to horse: then his bosom
Expanded like starry heaven; he sat down: his Nobles took their ancient seats.

Then the ancientest Peer, Duke of Burgundy, rose from the Monarch's right hand, red as wines
From his mountains; an odour of war, like a ripe vineyard, rose from his garments,
And the chamber became as a clouded sky; o'er the Council he stretch'd his red limbs
Cloth'd in flames of crimson; as a ripe vineyard stretches over sheaves of corn,
The fierce Duke hung over the Council; around him crowd, weeping in his burning robe,
A bright cloud of infant souls: his words fall like purple autumn on the sheaves:

`Shall this marble-built heaven become a clay cottage, this earth an oak stool, and these mowers
From the Atlantic mountains mow down all this great starry harvest of six thousand years?
And shall Necker, the hind of Geneva, stretch out his crook'd sickle o'er fertile France,
Till our purple and crimson is faded to russet, and the kingdoms of earth bound in sheaves,
And the ancient forests of chivalry hewn, and the joys of the combat burnt for fuel;
Till the power and dominion is rent from the pole, sword and sceptre from sun and moon,
The law and gospel from fire and air, and eternal reason and science From the deep and the solid, and man lay his faded head down on the rock
Of eternity, where the eternal lion and eagle remain to devour?
This to prevent, urg'd by cries in day, and prophetic dreams hovering in night,
To enrich the lean earth that craves, furrow'd with ploughs, whose seed is departing from her,
Thy Nobles have gather'd thy starry hosts round this rebellious city,
To rouse up the ancient forests of Europe, with clarions of cloud-breathing war,
To hear the horse neigh to the drum and trumpet, and the trumpet and war shout reply.
Stretch the hand that beckons the eagles of heaven: they cry over Paris, and wait
Till Fayette point his finger to Versailles--the eagles of heaven must have their prey!'

He ceas'd, and burn'd silent: red clouds roll round Necker; a weeping is heard o'er the palace.
Like a dark cloud Necker paus'd, and like thunder on the just man's burial day he paus'd.
Silent sit the winds, silent the meadows; while the husbandman and woman of weakness
And bright children look after him into the grave, and water his clay with love,
Then turn towards pensive fields: so Necker paus'd, and his visage was cover'd with clouds.

The King lean'd on his mountains; then lifted his head and look'd on his armies, that shone
Thro' heaven, tinging morning with beams of blood; then turning to Burgundy, troubled:--
`Burgundy, thou wast born a lion! My soul is o'ergrown with distress For the Nobles of France, and dark mists roll round me and

  By PanEris using Melati.

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