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King Solomon, before his palace gate
“O EDREHI, forbear to-night
So doing, may your tribe increase.”
Played Marianina, like a breeze And in a whisper to the king he said : From Naples and the Southern seas, “What is yon shape, that, pallid as the That brings us the delicious scent dead,
Of citron and of orange trees,
“At least, not so before I tell
Which in an ancient tome I found And the guest answered: “Lest he Upon a convent's dusty shelves, should come near,
Chained with an iron chain, and bound And speak to me, and take away my In parchment, and with clasps of brass, breath!
Lest from its prison, some dark day, Save me from Azrael, save me from It might be stolen or steal away, death !
While the good friars were singing mass. O king, that hast dominion o'er the wind, Bid it arise and bear me hence to Ind." “ It is a tale of Charlemagne,
When like a thunder-cloud, that lowers The king gazed upward at the cloudless | And sweeps from mountain-crest to sky,
coast, Whispered a word, and raised his hand with lightning flaming through its on high,
showers, And lo! the signet-ring of chrysoprase He swept across the Lombard plain, On his uplifted finger seemed to blaze Beleaguering with his warlike train With hidden fire, and rushing from the Pavia, the country's pride and boast, west
The City of the Hundred Towers.”
Thus heralded the tale began, “This must be Charlemagne !” and as
And then appeared in panoply complete
Of the imperial chapel, and the Counts; King of the Lombards, on a lofty tower And Desiderio could no more endure Stood gazing northward o'er the rol.ing The light of day, nor yet encounter plains,
death, League after league of harvests, to the But sobbed aloud and said : “Let us
foot Of the snow-crested Alps, and saw ap- and hide us in the bosom of the earth, proach
Far from the sight and anger of a foe A mighty, army, thronging all the So terrible as this !” And Olger said : roads
“When you behold the harvests in the That led into the city. And the
Shaking with fear, the Po and the Said unto Olger, who had passed his Ticino youth
Lashing the city walls with iron waves, As hostage at the court of France, and Then may you know that Charlemagne knew
is come.” The Emperor's form and face : “ Is And even as he spake, in the northwest, Charlemagne
Lo! there uprose a black and threatenAmong that host ? ” And Olger an- ing cloud, swered : “No.”
Out of whose bosom flashed the light of
And still the innumerable multitude Upon the people pent up in the city ;, Flowed onward and increased, until the A' light more terrible than any darkKing
ness ; Cried in amazement: “Surely Charle- And Charlemagne appeared ;
a Man magne
of Iron ! Is coming in the midst of all these knights ! ”
His helmet was of iron, and his gloves And Olger answered slowly: “No; not Of iron, and his breastplate and his yet;
greaves He will not come so soon.” Then much and tassets were of iron, and his shield. disturbed
In his left hand he held an iron spear, King Desiderio asked : “What shall we In his right hand his sword invincible. do,
The horse he rode on had the strength If he approach with a still greater of iron,
And color of iron. All who went before And Olger answered : “When he shall him, appear,
Beside him and behind him, his whole You will behold what manner of man host,
Were armed with iron, and their hearts But what will then befall us I know within them not."
Were stronger than the armor that they Then came the guard that never knew The fields and all the roads were filled repose,
with iron, The Paladins of France ; and at the And points of iron glistened in the
sight The Lombard King o'ercome with terror And shed a terror through the city cried :
he is ;
EMMA AND EGINHARD,
This at a single glance Olger the Dane Bowmen and troops with wicker shields,
And chariots ranged in front of these Exclaimed in haste : “Behold! this is With scythes upon their axle-trees.”
the man You looked for with such eagerness !” To this the Student answered : “Well, and then
I also have a tale to tell
A softer light, more tinged with rose,
Upon the darkness of the past.
Listen, and hear in English rhyme
What the good Monk of Lauresheim WELL pleased all listened to the tale,
Gives as the gossip of his time,
In mediæval Latin prose."
THE STUDENT'S TALE.
WHEN Alcuin taught the sons of CharBeing filled with indiscriminate ire
lemagne, That tangled and perplexed his thoughts ; In the free schools of Aix, how kings But, like a hospitable host,
should reign, When strangers landed on the coast, Heated himself red-hot with fire,
And with them taught the children of And hugged them in his arms, and How subjects should be patient and enpressed
dure, Their bodies to his burning breast.
He touched the lips of some, as best be
fit, The Poet answered : “No, not thus
With honey from the hives of Holy The legend rose ; it sprang at first
Writ; Out of the hunger and the thirst
Others intoxicated with the wine In all men for the marvellous.
Of ancient history, sweet but less divine ; And thus it filled and satisfied
Some with the wholesome fruits of gramThe imagination of mankind,
mar fed ; And this ideal to the mind
Others with mysteries of the stars o'erWas truer than historic fact.
head, Fancy enlarged and multiplied
That hang suspended in the vaulted The terrors of the awful name
sky Of Charlemagne, till he became
Like lamps in some fair palace vast and Armipotent in every act,
high. And, clothed in mystery, appeared Not what men saw, but what they In sooth, it was a pleasant sight to see feared. *
That Saxon monk, with hood and ro
sary, The Theologian said : “Perchance With inkhorn at his belt, and pen and Your chronicler in writing this
book, Had in his mind the Anabasis,
And mingled love and reverence in his Where Xenophon describes the advance look, Of Artaxerxes to the fight ;
Or hear the cloister and the court repeat At first the low gray cloud of dust, The measured footfalls of his sandaled And then a blackness o'er the fields
feet, As of a passing thunder-gust,
Or watch him with the pupils of his Then flash of brazen armor bright,
school, And ranks of men, and spears up-thrust, Gentle of speech, but absolute of rule.
* See page 340.