The Conqueror

I REMEMBER Falaise and the songs that we sung
When eventide gathered the old and the young,
And over the vineyards the golden moon hung,
In the years that are fled.
My fleet on the waters again I behold,
The gonfanons waving, the pennons of gold,
The three bannered Lions of Normandy old,
As in years that are fled.
I pointed to England, and proudly behind
The wings of a thousand ships rose on the wind,
And the sun, sinking low, on the serried shields shined,
In the years that are fled.
“ Pevensey! ” The shout from a thousand ships rung;
To Hastings we marched the green hill-sides among,
And there the great war-song of Roland we sung,
In the years that are fled.
And calm was the evening, the moon it was round,
The dead and the dying lay thick on the ground,
As I stood by the side of young Harold discrowned,
In the years that are fled.
My army from slumber awakened each day
The yeomen to harry, the foemen to slay.
They fought by the Humber, they fought by the Tay,
In the years that are fled.
Fécamp glows before me,—the feasts debonair,
The troubadours’ dance in the torch-lighted air,
The full wine that flowed ’neath the coronals there,
In the years that are fled.
The scutcheon of Conqueror shines on the wall ;
My triumphs are arrased in yonder bright hall;
And chronicled there, where the tapestries fall,
Are the years that are fled.
My red wars are ending; o’er wrinkles of care
Time’s coronet silver encircles my hair;
Alas and alas for the son of Robèrt,
And the years that are fled!
Hark ! . . . A young mother sings on the terrace below
To the babe on her breast an old rune of Bayeux;
My crown would I give its sweet slumbers to know,
And to lie in its stead!
Hezekiah Butterworth.