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Oh, my brave leaders! in this warm embrace, .
[They all embrace. Let us infuse that fortitude of soul, To all but England's daring sons unknown! “ Firm as the stately oak, our island's boast, : “ Which fiercest hurricanes assault in vain, “ We'll stand the driving tempest of their fury. « And who shall shake our martial glories from us? “ Yon puny Gauls? They ne'er have done it yet, “ Nor shall they now- Oh, never will we wrong “ So far ourselves and our renown'd forefathers !" Here part we, lords; attend your sev'ral duties. Audley, distribute thro' the camp provisions Keep ev'ry soldier's spirits in a glow, Till from the French this final message comes : Then, if their pride denies us terms of honour, We'll rush outrageous on their vaunting numbers; And teach them, that with souls resolv'd, like ours, Ev'n desperation points the way to conquest. When (in defiance of superior might) Plung'd in the dreadful storm of bloody fight, Shall ev'ry Briton do his country right. [Exeunt.
The French Camp. Enter Rißemont.
The troops, array'd, stand ready to advance ;
And this short p use, this silent interval,
With awful horror strikes upon my soul .
I know not whence it comes, but till this moment,
Ne'er did I feel such heaviness of heart.
Fear, thout-art still a stranger here ; and death
Have I oft seen in ev'ry form he wears;
Defy'd him, fac’d hiin, never fled him yet:
Nor has my conscience since contracted guilt,
The parent of dismay--then whence is this? .
Perhaps 'tis pity for yon hopeless host
Pity! For what?--The brave despise our pity;
For death, encounter'd in a noble cause,
Comes, like the gracious lord of toiling hinds,
To end all labours, and bestow reward.
Then let me shake this lethargy away-
By Heav'n, it wo' not off !— The sweat of death
Is on me—a cold tremor shakes my joints .
My feet seem rivetted- my blood congeals
Almighty Pow'rs! - Thou ever awful form! ..
Why art thou present ?- Wherefore ?-What; a sigh)
Oh, smile of sweet relief!-Ifaught from Heav'n
A mortal ear be worthy to--Again:
That piteous action! that dejected air!
Speak out the cause I beg thee, speak—'tis gone!
" Yet would I gaze, by such enchantment bound
“ Thou pleasing, dreadful vision!”-Oh, return!
Unfold thy errand, tho' I die with hearing
Enter Athens. Ath. You're well encounter'd, Ribemont; the king, Ere this, has Edward's answer; as I past
The bound'ries of our camp on yonder side,
In this my progress to equip the field,
I saw the Nuncio posting like the wind,
He and his train on horses white with foam,
Their course directed to our monarch's tent.
What means this, Ribemonti- Thou’rt lost in
Rib. Athens! I am unsoldier'd; I'm unmann'd
Wonder you may, my noble friend; for see,
I shake, I tremble-
Ath. Sav, at what?
Ath. Should the vast host that here are rang'd for
(Warm with impatience, eager for the fray)
Behold that Ribemont alone has fear,
What wonder would it cause! For thou, of all,
Art sure deservingly the most renown'd.
Come, be thyself For shamel
Rib. Believe me, Athens,
I am not stricken with a coward's feeling:
Not all yon army to this sword oppos'd,
Should damp my vigour, or depress my heart.
“ 'Tis not the soldier trembles, but the son "
Just now a melancholy seiz'd my soul,
A sinking; whence I knew not; till, at length,
My father's image to my sight appear'd,
And struck me motionless.
Ath. 'Twas only fancy.
Rib. Oh, no, my Athens! plainly I beheld
My father in the habit that he wore
When, with paternal smiles, he hung this weapon
Upon my youthful thigh, bidding me use it
With honour, only in my country's cause.
Within my mind I treasur'd up the charge,
And sacred to the soldier's public call
Have worn it ever. Wherefore then this visit?
" Why, in that garb in which he fix'd my fortune,
“ And charg'd me to repay his care with glory?"
If 'tis an omen of impending guilt,
0, soul of him I honour, once again
Come from thy heav'n, and tell me what it is,
Lest erring ignorance undo my fame.
Ath. Nought but a waking dream; a vapour’d brain.
Rib. Once his pale visage seem'd to wear a smile,
A look of approbation, not reproof;
But the next moment, with uplifted hands
And heaving bosom, sadly on the earth
He turn'd his eyes, and sorely seem'd to weep.
“ I heard, or fancy'd that I heard a groan,
“ As from the ground his look was rais’d to me;"
Then, shaking with a mournful glance his head,
He melted into air.
Ath. Pr’ythee, no more You talk'd of melancholy, that was all; Some sickness of the mind, occasion'd oft Ev'n by the fumes of indigested meals. To-morrow we will laugh at this delusion. Rib. To-morrow! Oh, that mention of to-mor
There are opinions, Athens, that our friends
Can pass the boundaries of nature back,
To warn us when the hour of death is nigh.
If that thy business was, thou awful shade!
I thank thee, and this interval of life, . .
However short, which Heaven vouchsafes me yet,
I will endeavour as I ought to spend."' .
Ath. See, thro'yon clouds of dust, with how much
The Nuncio hastens to the English camp! .
Perhaps the terms for safety are agreed;
Then where's a meaning for thy fancy'd vision ?
Rib. No matter where; my spirits are grown light; « Returning vigour braces up again “ My nerves and sinews to their wonted tone. “My heart beats freely, and, in nimble rounds, “ The streams of life pursue their ready course. “ Lead on; our duty calls us to the king." Again the bright’ning fires of glory blaze: Yes, virtue calls, and Ribemont obeys. . Yes, Athens, yes, amid the fierce alarms, Where Edward thunders in vindi&tive arms, Shalt thou behold me, in my country's cause, Rise in renown, or perish with applause. [Exeunt.