Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
 
Wales: Bangor
Bangor
Robert Southey (1774–1843)
 
(From Madoc)

                        THEN Madoc took
His host aside, and in his private ear
Told him the purport, and wherein his help
Was needed. Night came on; the hearth was heapt,
The women went to rest. They twain, the while,        5
Sate at the board, and while the untasted bowl
Stood by them, watched the glass whose falling sands
Told out the weary hours. The hour is come;
Prince Madoc helmed his head, and from his neck
He slung the bugle-horn; they took their shields,        10
And lance in hand went forth. And now arrived,
The bolts give back before them, and the door
Rolls on its heavy hinge.
                        Beside the grave
Stood Baldwin and the Prior, who, albeit
Cambrian himself, in fear and awe obeyed        15
The lordly Primate’s will. They stood and watched
Their ministers perform the irreverent work.
And now with spade and mattock have they broken
Into the house of death, and now have they
From the stone coffin wrenched the iron cramps,        20
When sudden interruption startled them,
And, clad in complete mail from head to foot,
They saw the Prince come in. Their tapers gleamed
Upon his visage, as he wore his helm
Open; and when in that pale countenance—        25
For the strong feeling blanched his cheek—they saw
His father’s living lineaments, a fear
Like ague shook them. But anon that fit
Of scared imagination to the sense
Of other peril yielded, when they heard        30
Prince Madoc’s dreadful voice. “Stay!” he exclaimed,
As now they would have fled; “stir not a man,
Or if I once put breath into this horn,
All Wales will hear, as if dead Owen called
For vengeance from that grave. Stir not a man,        35
Or not a man shall live! The doors are watched,
And ye are at my mercy!”
                        But at that,
Baldwin from the altar seized the crucifix,
And held it forth to Madoc, and cried out,
“He who strikes me strikes Him; forbear, on pain        40
Of endless—”
          “Peace!” quoth Madoc, “and profane not
The holy cross with those polluted hands
Of midnight sacrilege! Peace! I harm thee not;
Be wise, and thou art safe. For thee, thou know’st,
Prior, that if thy treason were divulged,        45
David would hang thee on thy steeple-top,
To feed the steeple daws: obey and live!
Go, bring fine linen and a coffer meet
To bear these relics; and do ye, meanwhile,
Proceed upon your work.”
                        They at his word
        50
Raised the stone cover, and displayed the dead,
In royal grave-clothes habited, his arms
Crossed on the breast, with precious gums and spice
Fragrant, and incorruptibly preserved.
At Madoc’s bidding, round the corpse they wrap        55
The linen web, fold within fold involved;
They laid it in the coffer, and with cloth
At head and foot filled every interval
And prest it down compact; they closed the lid,
And Madoc with his signet sealed it thrice.        60
Then said he to his host, “Bear thou at dawn
This treasure to the ships. My father’s bones
Shall have their resting-place where mine one day
May moulder by their side.”
 
 
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