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But when gracious Edward slept, and Richard wore

the crown, Forth came good William Wykeham, and meekly

knelt him down. Then out spake young King Richard: "What boon

can Wykeham ask, Which can surpass his worth, or our bounty overtask? For art thou not our Chancellor? and where in all

the realm Is a wiser man or better, to guide the labouring

helm? And thou know^t the holy lore, and the mason's

cunning skill: So speak the word, good Wykeham, for thou shalt

have thy will."

"I ask not wealth nor honour," the Bishop lowly

said, 8 Too much of both thy grandsire's hand heaped on

a poor monk's head: This world it is a weary load, it presses down my

soul; Fain would I pay my vows, and to Heaven restore

the whole. Grant me that two fair Colleges, beneath thy

charters sure, At Oxford and at Winchester, for ever may

endure, Which Wykeham's hands shall raise upon the

grassy sod, In the name of Blessed Mary, and for the love of


The king he sealed the charters, and Wykeham

traced the plan, And God, Who gave him wisdom, prospered the

lowly man: So two fair Colleges arose, one in calm Oxford's

glade, And one where Itchen sparkles beneath the planetree shade. There seventy true-born English boys he nourished

year by year In the nurture of good learning, and in God's holy

fear; And gave them steadfast laws, and bade them never

move Without sweet sign of brotherhood and gentle links

of love.

They grew beside his pastoral throne, and kept his

counsels sage, And the good man rejoiced to bear such fruit in his

old age: He heard the pealing notes of praise, which morn

and evening rung Forth from their vaulted chapel, by their clear

voices sung; His eye beheld them two by two their comely order

keep Along the Minster's sacred aisles, and up the beechcrowned steep; And, when he went to his reward, they shed the

pious tear, And sang the hallowed requiem over his saintly


Then came the dark and evil time, when English

blood was shed All over fertile England, for the White Rose or the

Red; But still in Wykeham's chapel the notes of praise

were heard, And still in Wykeham's College they taught the

Sacred Word; And in the grey of morning, on every saint's-day

still, That black-gowned troop of brothers was winding

up the hill: There in the hollow trench, which the Danish pirate

made, Or through the broad encampment, the peaceful

scholars played.

Trained in such gentle discipline from childhood to

their prime Grew mighty men and merciful, in that distracted

time; Men on whom Wykeham's mantle fell, who stood

beside their king Even in his place, and bore his staff and the same

pastoral ring; Who taught Heav'n-destined monarchs to emulate

his deeds Upon the banks of Cam, and in Eton's flowery

meads; Founders of other Colleges by Cherwell's lilied

side, Who laid their bones with his, when in ripe old age

they died.

And after that, when love grew cold, and Christendom was rent, And sinful Churches laid them down in sackcloth

to repent; When impious men bore sway, and wasted church

and shrine And cloister and old abbey, the works of men

divine; Though upon all things sacred their robber hands

they laid, They did not tear from Wykeham's gates the

Blessed Mother-Maid: But still in Wykeham's cloisters fair wisdom did

increase, And then his sons began to learn the golden songs

of Greece.

And all through great Eliza's reign, those days of pomp and pride,

They kept the laws of Wykeham, and did not swerve aside:

Still in their vaulted chapel, and in the Minster fair,

And in their lamplit chambers, they said the frequent prayer:

And when the Scottish plague-spot ran withering through the land,

The sons of Wykeham knelt beneath meek Andrewes' fostering hand,

And none of all the faithless, who swore th' unhallowed vow,

Drank of the crystal waters beneath the plane-tree bough.


Dread was the hour, but short as dread, when from

the guarded down Fierce Cromwell's rebel soldiery kept watch o'er

Wykeham's town: Beneath their pointed cannon all Itchen's valley

lay, St. Catharine's breezy side, and the woodlands far

away, The huge Cathedral sleeping in venerable gloom, The modest College-tower, and the bedesmen's

Norman home. They spoiled the graves of valiant men, warrior

and saint and sage, But at the grave of Wykeham good angels quenched

their rage.

Good angels still were there, when the base-hearted

son Of Charles, the royal martyr, his course of shame

did run: Then in those cloisters holy Ken strengthened with

deeper prayer His own and his dear scholars' souls to what pure

souls should dare; Bold to rebuke enthroned sin, with calm undazzled

faith, Whether amid the pomp of courts, or on the bed of

death; Firm against kingly terrors in his free country's

cause, Faithful to God's anointed against a world's applause.

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