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Then check'd and rated by Northumberland,
Did speak these words, now prov'd a prophecy :
' Northumberland, thou ladder by the which
My cousin Bolingbroke ascends my Throne :'
Though then, Heaven knows, I had no such intent;
But that necessity so bow'd the state,
That I and greatness were compell’d to kiss :-
"The time shall come,' thus did he follow it,
"The time will come, that foul sin, gathering head,
Shall break into corruption :'-so went on,
Foretelling this same time's condition,
And the division of our amity.
War. There is a history in all men's lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceas'd;
The which observ'd, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, which in their seeds
And weak beginnings lie intreasurèd.
Such things become the hatch and brood of time;
And by the necessary form of this,
King Richard might create a perfect guess,
That great Northumberland, then false to him,
Would of that seed grow to a greater falseness ;
Which should not find a ground to root upon,
Unless on you.
K. Hen. Are these things, then, necessities?
Then let us meet them like necessities ;-
And that same word even now cries out on us :
They say, the bishop and Northumberland
Are fifty thousand strong.
It cannot be, my lord ;
Rumour doth double, like the voice and echo,
The numbers of the fear'd. Please it your grace
To go to bed. Úpon my life, my lord,
The powers that you already have sent forth
Shall bring this prize in very easily.
To comfort you the more, I have receiv'd
A certain instance that Glendower is dead.
Your majesty hath been this fortnight ill,
And these unseason'd hours, perforce, must add
Unto your sickness.
K. Hen. I will take your counsel ;
And, were these inward wars once out of hand,
We would, dear lords, unto the Holy Land.
[The Castle of Chillon, on the lake of Geneva, is celebrated as having been the prison of François de Bonnivard, the hero of Genevan independence. He was incarcerated here in 1530 by the Duke of Savoy, and remained in confinement till 1536, when he was delivered by the people of Berne who took possession of the Canton of Vaud. “The object of the poem is not to paint the character of Bonnivard, but to mark the effects of confinement in gradually chilling the mental powers as it benumbs and freezes the animal frame, until its victim becomes, as it were a part of his dungeon, and identified with its chains. ']
My hair is grey, but not with years,
Nor grew it white,
In a single night,
As men's have grown from sudden fears :
My limbs are bow'd, though not with toil,
But rusted with a vile repose,
For they have been a dungeon's spoil,
And mine has been the fate of those
To whom the goodly earth and air
Are bann'd and barr'd-forbidden fare:
But this was for my father's taith,
I suffer'd chains and courted death ;
That father perish'd at the stake
For tenets he would not forsake;
And for the same his lineal race
In darkness found a dwelling-place.
We were seven-who now are one,
Six in youth, and one in age,
Finish'd as they had begun,
Proud of persecution's rage;
One in fire, and two in field,
Their belief with blood have seald,
Dying as their father died,
For the God their foes denied ;
Three were in a dungeon cast,
Of whom this wreck is left the last.
There are seven pillars of Gothic mould,
In Chillon's dungeons deep and old,
There are seven columns, massy and gray,
Dim with a dull imprison'd ray-
A sunbeam which has lost its way,
And through the crevices and the clest
Of the thick wall is fallen and left,
Creeping o'er the floor so damp,
Like a marsh's meteor lamp
And in each pillar there is a ring,
And in each ring there is a chain ;
That iron is a cankering thing,
For in these limbs its teeth remain, With marks that will not wear away, Till I have done with this new day, Which now is painful to these eyes, Which have seen the sun to rise For years—I cannot count them o'er, I lost their long and heavy score When my last brother droop'd and died, And I lay living by his side. They chain'd us each to a column stone, And we were three-yet each alone; We could not move a single pace, We could not see each other's face, But with that pale and livid light That made us strangers in our sight; And thus together-yet apart, Fetter'd in hand, but pined in heart, 'Twas still some solace, in the dearth Of the pure elements of earth, To hearken to each other's speech, And each turn comforter to each With some new hope, or legend old, Or song heroically bold. But even these at length grew cold; Our voices took a dreary tone, An echo of the dungeon-stone, A grating sound -not full and free As they of yore were wont to be: It might be fancy-but to me They never sounded like our own. I was the eldest of the three,
And to uphold and cheer the rest
I ought to domand did my best, And each did well in his degree.
The youngest, whom my father loved,
Because our mother's brow was given
To him-with eyes as blue as heaven,
For him my soul was sorely moved ;
And truly might it be distress'd
To see such bird in such a nest;
For he was beautiful as day-
(When day was beautiful to me
As to young eagles, being free)-
A polar day which will not see
A sunset till its summer's gone,
Its sleepless summer of long light, The snow-clad offspring of the sun :
And thus he was as pure and bright, And in his natural spirit gay, With tears for nought but others' ills, And then they flowed like mountain rills, Unless he could assuage the woe Which he abhorr'd to view below.
The other was as pure of mind,
But form’d to combat with his kind ;
Strong in his frame, and of a mood
Which 'gainst the world in war had stood,
And perish'd in the foremost rank
With joy :—but not in chains to pine : His spirit withered with their clank,
I saw it silently decline
And so perchance in sooth did mine;
But yet I forced it on to cheer
Those relics of a home so dear.
He was a hunter of the hills,
Had follow'd there the deer and wolf;
To him this dungeon was a gulf
, And fetter'd feet the worst of ills.
Lake Leman lies by Chillon's walls :
A thousand feet in depth below
Its massy waters meet and flow;
Thus much the fathom-line was sent
From Chillon's snow-white battlement,
Which round about the wave enthrals : A double dungeon wall and wave Have made-and like a living grave. Below the surface of the lake The dark vault lies wherein we lay, We heard it ripple, night and day;
Sounding o'er our heads it knock'd; And I have felt the winter's spray Wash thro' the bars when winds were high, And wanton in the happy sky.
And then the very rock hath rock’d,
And I have felt it shake, unshock'd, Because I could have smiled to see The death that would have set me free.
I said my nearer brother pined,
I said his mighty heart declined ;
He loathed and put away his food ;
It was not that 'twas coarse and rude,
For we were used to hunter's fare,
And for the like had little care :
The milk drawn from the mountain goat
Was changed for water from the moat.
Our bread was such as captives' tears
Have moisten'd many a thousand years,
Since man first pent his fellow-men
Like brutes within an iron den ;
But what were these to us or him?
These wasted not his heart or limb;
My brother's soul was of that mould
Which in a palace had grown cold,
Had his free breathing been denied
The range of the steep mountain's side;
But why delay the truth ?-he died.
I saw, and could not hold his head,
Nor reach his dying hand—nor dead, -
Though hard I strove, but strove in vain,
To rend and gnash my bonds in twain,
He died—and they unlock'd his chain,
And scoop'd for him a shallow grave
Even from the cold earth of our cave.