Robert Southey.

Metrical tales and other poems .. online

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ivos hsc noviinus esse nihik.



frinted by BIGGS and CO. Crane Court, Fleet Streeti Loiiffb*.


These Poems were published some yeai^s ago
in the Aniuuil ilnthology. They have now
been revised and printed in this collected form^
because they have pleased those readers whom
the Author was most desirous of pleasing. Let
them be considered as the desultory productions
of a man sedulously employed upon better


Metrical Tales.

God's Judgment on a Bishop. . 4

The Pious Painter.. . i 9

St. Michael's Chair and who

sat there 17

A Ballad of a young man that
would read unlawful books
and how he was punished j

very pithy and profitable .... 21

King Charlemain 24

St. Romuald 32

The Well of St. Keyne 36

Bishop Bruno 40

The Battle of Blenheim 44

St. Gualberto 48


Ximalpoca 69

The Wife of Fergus 73

Lucretia 77

Songs of the American

The Huron's Address to the

dead 83

The Peruvian's Dirge over

the body of his Father 86

Song of the Araucans during

a thunder storm 89

Song of the Chikkasah Widow. . 92
The Old Chikkasah to his

grandson 95

The Love Elegies of Abel

ilegy 1 101

2 *.... 103

3 105

4 107


Sonnet 1 113

2 114

3 115

4 116

Sonnet 5 IW

6 118

7 119

8 120

9 121

10 122

11 123

12 124


Snufif. ;... 127

Cool Reflections during a Mid-
summer walk 129

The Pig 132

The Dancing Bear 135

The Filbert 138


Gooseberry-Pie. A Pindaric

Ode 143

The Battle of Pultowa 146

The Death of Wallace v . 149

To a Friend, enquiring Sec 155

The Dead Friend 155

History 158

The Soldier's Funeral 160

To a Spider 163

The Oak of our Fathers 166

The Old Man's Comforts 168

The Ebb Tide 170

The HoWy Tree 172

English Eclogues.

The Last of the Family 177

The Wedding I64


Inscription 1 f 195

2 196

3 197

4 198

5 199

6 '.... 200

7? 202

iletncal Cales*

GOD'S Judgment on a BISHOP.

HerefoUoweth the History ofHATTO, Archbishop ofMentz,

It hayned in the year 914, that there was an exceeding great
famine in Germany, at what time Otho surnamcd the Great
was Emperor, and one Hatto once Abbot of Fulda was Arch'
bishop of Mentz, of the Bishops after Crescens and Crescentius
the two and thirtieth, of the Archbishops after St. Bonafacius
the thirteenth. This Hatto in the time of this great famine
afore-mentioned, when he saw the poor people of the'coiintry
exceedingly oppressed with famine, assembled a great com-
pany of them together into a Barne, and like a most accursed
and mercilesse caitiffe burnt up those poor innocent souls,
that were so far from doubting any such matter, that they
rather hoped to receive some comfort and relief at his hands.
The reason that moved the 2)relat to commit that execrable im-
piety, mas because he thought the famine would the sooner
cease, if those unprofitable beggars that consumed more bread
than they were worthy to eat, were dispatched out of the world.
For he said that those poor folks were like to Mice, that were
good for nothing but to devour come. But God Almighty
the Just avenger of the poor folks Quarrel, did not long suffer
this hainous Tyranny, this most detestable fact, unpunished.
For he mustered up an Army of Mice against the Archbishop,
and. sent them to persecute him as his furious Alastors, so that
they afflicted him both day and night, and would not suffer hivi
to take his rest in any place. Whereupon the Prelate ihinking

that he should he secure from the injury of Mice if he wtre
in a certain tower, that standeth in the Rhine near to the
towne, betook himself unto the said tower as to a safe refuge
and sanctuary from his enemies, and locked himself in. But
the innumerable troupes of Mice chased him continually very
eagerly, and swumme unto him upon the top of the water to
execute the just judgment of God, and so at last he was most
miserably devoured by those sillie creatures ; who pursued him
with such bitter hostility, that it is recorded they scraped and
gnawed out his very name from the walls and tapistry mherein
it was written, after they had so cruelly devoured his body.
Wherefore the tower loherein he was eaten up by the Mice is
shewn to this day, for a perpetual mpnument to all succeeding
ages of the barbarous and inhuman tyranny of this impious
Prelate, being situate in a little green Island in the midst of
the Rhine near to the towne of* Bing, and is commonly called
in the German Tongue, the Mowse-turn,

Coryafs Crud. P. 571, 57t,

jOther Authors wha record this tale say that the Bishop was
eaten by Rats.

The summer and autumn had been so wet
That in winter the corn was growing yet^
'Twas a piteous sight to see all around
The corn lie rotting on the ground.

Hodie Bingen.

J!v6*ry day the starving poor
Crowded around Bishop Hatto's doof^
For he had a plentiful last-year's store.
And all the neighbourhood could tell
His granaries were furnished well.

At last Bishop Hatto appointed a day

To quiet the poor without delay.

He bade them to his great Barn repair

And they sliould have food for the winter there.

Rejoiced the tidings good to hear

The poor folk flocked from far and near ;

The great Barn was full as it could hold

Of women and children, and young and old.

Then when he saw if could hold no more
Bishop Hatto he made fast the door.
And while for mercy on Christ they call •
He set iire to the Barn and burnt them all.

I' faith 'tis an excellent bonfire ! quoth he.
And the country is greatly obliged to me.
For ridding it in these times forlorn
Of Rats that only consume the corn.

So then to his palace returned he.

And he sat down to supper merrily.

And he slept that night like an innocent man^

But Bishop Hatto never slept again.

In the morning as he entered the hall
Where his picture hung against the wall,
A sweat like death all over him came,
Por the Rats had eaten it out of the frame.

As he look'd there came a man from his farm.
He had a countenance white with alarm.
My Lord, I opened your granaries this morn
And the Rats had eaten all your corn.

Another came running presently.
And he was pale as pale could be.
Fly ! my Lord Bishop, fly, quoth he.
Ten thousand Rats are coming this way, . .
The Lord forgive you for yesterday !

I'll go to my tower in the Rhine, replied he,
'Tis tlie safest place in Germany,
The walls are high and the shores are steep
And the tide is strong and the water deep.

Bishop Hatto fearfully hastened away
And he crost the Rhine without delay^
And reach'd his Tower in the Island and barr'd
All the gates secure and hard.

He laid him down and closed his eyes 3 . .

But soon a scream made him arise.

He started, and saw two eyes of flame

On his pillow, from whence the screaming came.

He listen'd and look'd 5 ... it was only the Cat >
But the Bishop he grew more fearful for that.
For she sate screaming, mad with fear
At the Army of Rats that were drawing near.

For they have swum over the river so deep.
And they have climb'd the shores so steep.
And now by thousands up they crawl
To the holes and windows in the wall.

Down on his knees the Bishop fell.

And faster and faster his beads did he tell.

As louder and louder drawing near

The saw of their teeth without he could hear.

And in at the windows and in at the door.
And through the walls by thousands they pour.
And down from tlie ceiling and up thro' the floor.
From the right and the left, from behind and before^-
From within and without, from above and below, .
And all at once to the Bishop they go.

They have whetted their teeth against the stones, .
And now they pick the Bishop's bones.
They gnawed the flesh from every limb
For they were sent to do judgment on hina !


The PIOUS Painter.

The story of the Pious Painter is related in the Pia Hilaria
ofGazmiSi but the Catholic Poet has omitted the conclusion.
This ii to be found in the Fabliaux of Le Grand,


There once was a Painter in Catholic days^

Like Job who eschewed all evil.
Still on his Madonnas the curious may gaze
With applause and with pleasure, but chiefly his praise

And delight was in painting the Devil.

They were Angels, compared to the Devils he drew.
Who beseiged poor St. Anthony's cell ;

Such burning hot eyes, such 2i damnable hue !

You could even smell brimstone their breath was so blue.
He painted the Devil so well.


And now had the Artist a picture begun,

'Twas over the Virgin's church door 3
She stood on the Dragon embracing her Son,
Many Devils already the Artist had done,
But this must out-do all before.

The Old Dragon's imps as they fled thro* the air

At seeing it paus'd on the wing.
For he had the likeness so just to a hair.
That they came as ApoUyon himself had been there.

To pay their respects to their King.

Every child at beholding it shivered with dread

And scream'd as he turn'd away quick.
Not an old woman saw it, but raising her head,
Dropt a bead, made a cross on her wrinkles, and said.
Lord keep me from ugly Old Nick I

What the Painter so earnestly thought on by day.

He sometimes would dream of by night ;
But once he was startled as sleeping he lay 5
'Twas no fancy, no dream, he could plainly survey
That the Devil himself was in sight.


You rascally dauber ! old Beelzebub cries.

Take heed how you wrong me again !
Tho' your caricatures for myself I despise.
Make me handsomer now in the multitudes eyes.

Or see if I threaten in vain !

Now tlie Painter was bold and religious beside.

And on faith he had certain reliance.
So earnestly he all his countenance eyed.
And thank'd him for sitting with Catholic pride.

And sturdily bade him defiance.

Betimes in the morning the Painter arose.

He's ready as soon as 'tis light.
Every look, every line, every feature he knows>
'Tis fresh in his eye, to his labour he goes.

And he has the old Wicked One quite.

Happy man ! he is sure the resemblance can't fail.

The tip of the nose is red hot.
There's his grin and his fangs, his skin cover'd with scale^,
And that the identical curl of his tail, , .

Not a mark, not a claw is forgot.


He looks and retouches again with delight;"

*Tis a portrait compleat to his mind !
He touches again, and again gluts his sight.
He looks round for applause, and he sees with affright

The Original standing behind.

Fool ! Idiot ! old Beelzebub grinn'd as he spoke

And stampt on the scaffold in ire.
The Painter grew pale, for he knew it no joke,
*Twas a terrible height, and the scaffolding broke^

The Devil could wish it no higher.

Help. . help me ! O Mary ! he cried in alarm

As the scaffold sunk under his feet.
From tlie canvas the Virgin extended her arm.
She caught the good Painter, she saved him from harm>

There were hundreds who saw in the street.

The Old Dragon-fied when the wonder he spied

And cursed his own fruitless endeavour.
While the Painter call'd after his rage to deride.
Shook his pallet and brushes in triumph and cried,^
I'll paint thee more ugly than ever \




TBe Painter so pious all praise had acquired

For defying the malice of Hell ;
The Monks the unerring resemblance admired ;
Not a Lady lived near but her ponrait desired

From one who succeeded so well.

One there was t<3 be painted the number among

Of features most fliir to behold ;
The country aroand of fair Marguerite rung.
Marguerite she was lovely and lively and young,^

Her husband was ugly and old.

O Painter avoid her I O Painter take care t

For Satan is watchful for you f
Take heed lest you fall in the Wicked One's snare.
The net is made ready, O Painter beware

Of Satan and Marguerite too.


She seats herself now, now she lifts up her head.

On the Artist she lixes her eyes 5
The colours are ready, the canvas is spread.
He lays on the white, and he lays on the red.

And the features of beauty arise.

He is come to her eyes, eyes so bright and so blue !

There's a look that he cannot express j. .
His colours are dull to their quick- sparkling hue.
More and more on the Lady he fixes his view.

On the canvas he looks less and less.

In vain he retouches, her eyes sparkle more.

And that look that fair Marguerite gave !
Many Devils the Artist had painted of yore.
But he never attempted an Angel before, . .
St. Anthony help him and save !

He yielded alas ! for the truth must be told.
To the Woman, the Tempter, and Fate.
It was settled the Lady so fair to behold.
Should elope from her husband so ugly and old.
With the Painter so pious of late I


Now Satan exults in his vengeance compleat.

To the Husband he makes the scheme known.
Night comes and the lovers impatiently meet.
Together they fly, they are seiz'd in the street.
And in prison the Painter is thrown.

With Repentance, his only companion, he lies.

And a dismal companion is she !
On a sudden he saw the Old Serpent arise.
Now you villainous dauber ! Sir Beelzebub cries.

You are paid for your insults to me !

But my tender heart it is easy to move

If to what I propose you agree 3
That picture, .. be just I the resemblance improve.
Make a handsomer portrait, your chains I'll remove,

x\nd you shall this instant be free.

Overjoyed, the conditions so easy he hears,
I'll make you quite handsome ! he said.
He said, and his chain on the Devil appears,
Releas'd from his prison, releas'd from his fears.
The Painter is snug in his bed.


At morn he arises^ composes his look,

And proceeds to his work as before 5
The people beheld him, the culprit they took^
They thought that the Painter his prison hadbroke>

And to prison they led him once more.

They open the dungeon ; . . behold in his place

In the corner old Beelzebub lay.
He smirks and he smiles and he leers witli a grace.
That the Painter might catch all the charms of his face

Then vanished in lightning away.

Quoth the Painter, I trust you^ll suspect me no more>
Since you find my assertions were true.

But I'll alter the picture above the Church-door^

For I never saw Satan so closely before.
And I must give the Devil his due..



Merrily merrily rung the bells^

The bells of St. Michael's tower.
When Richard Penlake and Rebecca his wife

Arrived at the church-door.

Richard Penlake was a chearful man,

Chearful and frank and free.
But he led a sad life with Rebecca his wife.

For a terrible shrew was she.

Richard Penlake a scolding would take;,

Till patience availed no longer.
Then Richard Penlake his crab-stick would take^^

And shew her that he was the stronger.


Rebecca his wife had often wish'd

To sit in St. Michael's chair j
For she should be the mistress then

If she had once sat there.

It chanced that Richard Penlake fell sick.
They thought he would have died -,

Rebecca his wife made a vow for his life
As she knelt by his bed-side.

Now hear my prayer^ St. Michael ! and spare

My husband's life, quoth she j
And to thine altar we will go.

Six marks to give to thee.

Richard Penlake repeated the vow.

For woundily sick was he ;
Save me St. Michael and we will go

Six marks to give to thee.

When Richard grew well Rebecca his wife
Teized him by night and by day :

O mine own dear ! for you I fear.
If we the vow delay.


Merrily merrily rung the bells.
The bells of St. Michael's tower,

When Richard Penlake and Rebecca his wife
Arrived at the church door.

Six marks they on the altar laid.

And Richard knelt in prayer :
She left him to pray and stole away

To sit in St. Michael's chair.

Up the lower Rebecca ran.

Round and round and round ;
'Twas a giddy sight to stand a-top

And look upon the ground.

A curse on the ringers for rocking

The tower ! Rebecca cried.
As over the church battlements

She strode with a long stride.

A blessing on St. Michael's chair I

She said as she sat down :
Merrily merrily rung the bells

And out Rebecca was thrown.


Tidings to Richard Penlake were brought

That his good wife was dead :
Now shall we toll for her poor soul

The great church-bell ? they said.

Toll at her burying, quoth Richard Penlake,

Toll at her burying, quoth he j
But don't disturb the ringers now

In compliment to me.



^f Si YOUNG MAN that uwuld read unlawful Bookh
and how he was punished.


Cornelius Agrippa went out one day.
His Study he lock'd ere he went away.
And he gave the key of the door to his wife,,
And charg'd her to keep it lock'd^ on her Hfe.

And if any one ask my Study to see,
I charge you trust them not with the key.
Whoever may beg, and intreat, and implore.
On your Hfe let nobody enter that door.

There liv'd a young man in the house who in vain
Access to that Study had sought to obtain.
And he begg'd and pray'd the books to see^
Till the foolish woman gave him the key.


On the Study- table a book there lay.
Which Agrippa himself had been reading that day^
The letters were written with blood within.
And the leaves were made of dead mens skin.

And these horrible leaves of magic, between
Were the ugliest pictures that ever were seen.
The likeness of things so foul to behold.
That what they were is not fit to be told.

The young man, he began to jeac^,.
He knew not what, but he would proceed.
When there was heard a sound at the door
Which as he read on grew more and more.

And more and more the knocking grew.

The young man knew not what to do j

But trembling in fear he sat within.

Till the door was broke and the Devil came in.

Two hideous horns on his head he had got
Like iron heated nine times red hot 3
The breath of his nostrils was brimstone blue.
And his tail like a fiery serpent grew.


What wouldst thou witli me ? the Wicked One cried^
But not a word the young man replied ;
Every liair on his head was standing upright
And his limbs like a palsy shook with affright.

What would'st thou with me ? cried the Author of ill.
But the wretched young man was silent still )
Not a word had his lips the power to say.
And his marrow seem'd to be melting away.

What would'st thou with me ? the third time he cries
And a flash of lightning came from his eyes.
And he lifted his griffin claw in the air.
And the young man had not strength for a prayer.

His eyes red fire and fury dart
As out he tore the young man's heart
He grinn'd a horrible grin at his prey.
And in a clap of thunder vanish' d away.


Henceforth let all young men take heed
How in a Conjurer's books they read.



iFrangois Petrarqiie, fort renommS entre les Poetes Italienty
discourant en une epistre son voyage de France et de VAlle-
maigne, nous raconte que passant par laville d'Aix, il apprit
de quelque prcsires unc histoire prodigeuse quails tenoient de
inain en main pour ires veritable. Qui estoit que Charles le
Grand, apres avoir conquest^ plusiers pays, s^esperdit dt
telle fagon en Vamour d*une simple femme, que mettant
tout honneur et reputation en arriere, il oublia non seule-
mtnt les affaires de son royaume, mais aussi le soing de sa
propre personne, au grand desplaisir de chacun ; eslant
seulement ententif a jcourtiser ceste dame: laqueUe par bon-
heur commenca a s' aliter dhme grosse maladie, qui lui
cpporta la mort. Dont les Princes et grands Seigneurs fort
resjouis, esperans -que par ceste mort, Charles reprendroit
comme devant et ses esprits et les affaires du royaume en
main : toutesfois il se trcuva tellement infatu6 de cestt
amour, qu* encores cherissoit-il ce cadaver, I* embrassant,
baisant, accolani de la mesme fagon que devant, et au lieu
de prester V oreille aux legations qui luy survenoient, il
V entretenoit de mille heyes, comme s*il eust £st6 plein de
vie. Ce corps commengoit deja non seulement a mal sentir,
mais aussi se tournoit en putrefaction, et neantmoins n'y
Mvoit aucun de ses favoris qui luy en osast parler ; dont


advint que f Archevesque Turyin mieux advise que tes
autres, pourpensa que telle chose ne pouvoit estre advenue
sans quelque sorceUerie. Au moyen de quoy espiant un jour
Vheure que le Roy s^estoit absent t de la chamhrey commenga
de fouiller le corps de toutes parts, jinalement trouva dans
sa bouche au dessous de s^'a langue un anneau qu*il luy osta,
Le jour mesme Charlemaigne retournant sur ses premieres
brisees, se trouva fort esionnt de voir une carcasse ainsi
puante. Parquoy, comme s*il se fust resveille d^un profond
sommeil, commanda que Von Vensevelist promptment. Ce
qui fut fait ; mais en contr' eschange de cestefolie, il tourna
lous ses ptnsemens vers VArchevesque porteur de test anneau,
ne pouvant estre de la en avant sans luy, et le suivant en
tons les endroits. Quoy voyant ce sage Prelat, et craignunt
que cest anneau ne tombast en mains de quelque autre, le
jetta dans un lac pro chain de la ville. Depuis lequel temps
on dit que ce Roy se trouve si espris de V amour du lieu, quH
ne desempara la ville d'Aix, oil il bastit un Palais, et un
Monastere, en Vun desquels il parfit le reste de ses jours et en
Vautre voulut estre ensevelyy ordonnant par son testament
que tons les Empereurs de Rome €ussent a sefaire sacrer pre-
-^lierement en ce lieu,

Les Recherches de la France, d* Estiennt
Pasquier. Paris. 1611.



It was strange that he loved her, for youth was gone by

And the bloom of her beauty was fled -,
'Twas tlie glance of the harlot that glearn'd in her eye.
And all but the Monarch could plainly descry
From whence came her white and her red.

Yet he thought with Agatha none might compare,,
That Kings might be proud of her chain ;

The court was a desert if she were not there.

She only was lovely, she only was fair.
Such dotage possess'd Charlemain.

The soldier, the statesman, the courtier, the maid.

Alike do their rival detest -,
And the good old Archbishop who ceas'd to upbraid.
Shook his grey head in sorrow, and silently pray'd

To sing her the requiem of rest.


A joy ill-dissembled soon gladdens them all.

For Agatha sickens and dies.
And now they are ready with bier and widi pall.
The tapers gleam gloomy amid the high hall.

And the bell tolls long thro' the skies.

They came^ but he sent them in anger away.

For she should not be buried, he said ;
And despite of all counsel, for many a dayj
Array'd in her costly apparel she lay,

And he would go sit by the dead.

The cares of the kingdom demand him in vain.

And the army cry out for their Lord j
The Lombards, the fierce misbelievers of Spain,
Now ravage the realms of the proud Charlemain

And still he unsheathes not the sword.

The Soldiers they clamour, the Monks bend in prayer

In the quiet retreats of the cell -,
The Physicians to counsel together repair.
They pause and they ponder, at last they declare

That his senses are bound by a spell.
c 2


With relics protected, and confident grown

And telling devoutly 4i is beads.
The Archbishop prepares him, and when it was known^
That the King for awhile left the body alone.

To search for the spell he proceeds.

Now careful he searches with tremulous haste

For the spell that bewitches the King ;
And under the tongue for security placed.
Its margin with mystical characters faced.

At length he discovers a ring.

Rejoicing he seiz'd it and hasten'd away.

The Monarch re-entered the room.
The enchantment was ended, and suddenly gay
He bade the attendants no longer delay

But bear her with speed to the tomb.

Now merriment, joyaunce and feasting agairi

Enlivened the palace of Aix,
And now by his heralds did King Charlemain
Invite to his palace the courtier ti'ain

To hold a high festival day.


And anxiously now for the festival day

The highly-born Maidens prepare -,
And now all apparell'd in costly array.
Exulting they come to the palace of Aix,

Young and aged^, the brave, and the fair.

Oh ! happy the Damsel who 'mid her compeers

For a moment engaged the King's eye I
Now glowing with hopes and now fever'd with fears
Each maid or triumphant, or jealous, appears.

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Online LibraryRobert SoutheyMetrical tales and other poems .. → online text (page 1 of 6)