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King Solomon, before his palace gate
At evening, on the pavement tessellate

Was walking with a stranger from the

“O EDREHI, forbear to-night
Arrayed in rich attire as for a feast, Your ghostly legends of affright,
The mighty Runjeet-Sing, a learned man, And let the Talmud rest in peace ;
And Rajah of the realms of Hindostan. Spare us your dismal tales of death
And as they walked the guest became That almost take away one's breath ;

So doing, may your tribe increase.”
Of a white figure in the twilight air,
Gazing intent, as one who with surprise Thus the Sicilian said ; then went
His form and features seemed to recog. And on the spinet's rattling keys

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,
Is watching me, as if he sought to trace And memories of soft days of ease
In the dini light the features of my face?" At Capri and Amalfi spent.
The king looked, and replied : “I know “Not so," the eager Poet said ;
him well;

At least, not so before I tell
It is the Angel men call Azrael, The story of my Azrael,
'Tis the Death Angel ; what hast thou An angel mortal as ourselves,
to fear?”

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 thus in sober measure ran.

Did Olger answer : “No; not yet, not


And then appeared in panoply complete
The Bishops and the Abbots and the

OLGER the Dane and Desiderio,

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

fields King

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

go down


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 :


army ?”

he is ;




the poor

This at a single glance Olger the Dane Bowmen and troops with wicker shields,
Saw from the tower, and turning to the And cavalry equipped in white,

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
Fell as one dead at Desiderio's feet. Of Charlemagne; a tale that throws

A softer light, more tinged with rose,
Than your grim apparition cast

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,
That drew, the Student said, its pith

In mediæval Latin prose."
And marrow from the ancient myth
Of some one with an iron flail ;
Or that portentous Man of Brass

Hephæstus made in days of yore,
Who stalked about the Cretan shore,
And saw the ships appear and pass,
And threw stones at the Argonauts,

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.

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