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It is supposed that war was anciently proclaimed in Britain by sending messengers in different directions through the land, each bearing a bended bow; and that peace was in like manner announced by a bow unstrung, and therefore staight

See the Cambrian Antiquities:

THERE was heard the sound of a coming foe,
There was sent through Britain a bended Bow,
And a voice was pour’d on the free winds far,
As the land rose up at the sign of war.

“ Heard ye not the battle-horn?
-Reaper ! leave thy golden corn!
Leave it for the birds of heaven,
Swords must flash, and spears be riven !
Leave it for the winds to shed-
Arm! ere Britain's turf grow red !”

And the reaper arm'd like a freeman's son,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass’d on.

66 Hunter ! leave the mountain-chase!
Take the falchion from its place !
Let the wolf go free to-day,
Leave him for a nobler prey !
Let the deer ungalld sweep by,
Arm thee! Britain's foes are nigh.”

And the hunter arm’d ere the chase was done,
And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.

“Chieftain ! quit the joyous feast !
Stay not till the song hath ceased :
Though the mead be foaming bright,
Though the fires give ruddy light,
Leave the hearth and leave the hall-
Arm thee! Britain's foes must fall.”

And the chieftain arm'd, and the horn was blown, And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on.

“ Prince ! thy father's deeds are told,
In the bower and in the hold !

Where the goatherd's lay is sung,
Where the minstrel's harp is strung !
-Foes are on thy native sea-
Give our bards a tale of thee !"

And the prince came arm’d, like a leader's son, And the bended Bow and the voice pass’d on.

“ Mother! stay thou not thy boy!
He must learn the battle’s joy.
Sister ! bring the sword and spear,
Give thy brother words of cheer !
Maiden !- bid thy lover part,
Britain calls the strong in heart ! ”

And the bended Bow and the voice pass'd on, And the bards made song for a battle won.


It is recorded of Henry the First, that after the death of his son, Prince William, who perished in a shipwreck off the coast of Normandy, he was never seen to smile.

The bark that held a prince went down,

The sweeping waves rollid on;
And what was England's glorious crown

To him that wept a son?
He lived—for life may long be borne

Ere sorrow break its chain ;-
Why comes not death to those who mourn ?

-He never smiled again!

* Originally published in the Literary Gazette.

There stood proud forms around his throne,

The stately and the brave,
But which could fill the place of one,

That one beneath the wave ?
Before him pass’d the young and fair,

In pleasure's reckless train, But seas dash'd o'er his son's bright hair

-He never smiled again!

He sat where festal bowls went round;

He heard the minstrel sing,
He saw the Tourney's victor crown'd,

Amidst the knightly ring :
A murmur of the restless deep

Was blent with every strain,
A voice of winds that would not sleep-

He never smiled again!

Hearts, in that time, closed o'er the trace

Of vows onee fondly pour'd,
And strangers took the kinsman's place

At many a joyous board ;

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