BETA

Two young boys wearing white nightdresses kneel together at the foot of a bed. Each child holds an open prayer book in his hands. The illustration is dark except for a single lamp that hangs above the children’s heads, illuminating them. A portrait in an ornately decorated frame hangs on the wall behind the children. Full-page illustration.

A Tale of the Tower.

——We smother’d
The most replenished sweet work of Nature,
That from the prime creation ere she fram’d.”
Shakspere.
He shall not faint—who in the Lord1
Lays up his hope and trust ;2
Whose staff is still God’s holy word,3
Whose monitor, the Just.4
He shall not faint—though in his path5
The wicked lurk alway,6
And, like a dragon in his wrath,7
Prepare to rend and slay.8
He shall not faint—though thick as weeds9
Around him snares are spread ;10
And ev’ry brake its serpents breeds,11
To sting the trav’ller dead.12
He shall not faint—though on the deep13
Beset by rock and sand ;14
And lightnings blaze, and thunders leap15
From God’s avenging hand.16
He shall not faint—though made the prey17
Of slander, badly bold ;18
For what to man is base allay,19
To God is purest gold.20
In pilgrimage of weary length ;21
In battle with the vain ;22
In bonds of adamantine strength ;23
In tempest on the main ;24
And, yea, in that most trying hour,25
When smit by scoffer’s taint,26
Still, still rejoicing in thy pow’r,27
Thy servant shall not faint.28
Oh God ! for ever make this thought29
The music of our minds ;30
With more delicious sweetness fraught31
Than India’s sweetest winds.32
Make it our only hope and stay,33
Our right arm’s only might ;34
Our counsellor in wakeful day,35
Our guardian in the night !36
With thankfulness for mercies shown,37
With pray’r for joy in store ;38
We bend before thy awful throne ;39
Our God, for evermore ! ”40
Yea, such the strain, the pious words41
Pour’d forth in solemn hour,42
By royal children—captive birds43
In London’s flinty Tow’r.44
Thus Edward, King of England, pray’d45
Thus little York, and then46
Adown their guiltless heads they laid47
In bloody Gloster’s den.48
Adown they lay, and blessed sleep49
Fell on them—soft and light50
As dew that stars on flowers weep51
In summer’s balmy night.52
Thus innocent, thus nobly meek,53
—Devoted to the death ! —54
With cheek aye nestling unto cheek,55
They mingled breath with breath.56
And Richard’s face was lit with smiles,57
As beautiful to see58
As drowsy infant’s laughing wiles,59
When rock’d on mother’s knee.60
Oh, Gloster ! is thine angel flown ?61
Incapable of good,62
Doth Satan call thee all his own63
In this dark hour of blood ?64
Oh ! is thy soul already lost65
By deeds so fierce and fell,66
That none of heaven’s warrior-host67
Will rescue thee from hell ?68
Will seek thee, where—possess’d by rage69
As stirs the panther’s kind70
Thou tread’st, as in a narrow cage71
Of bloody thoughts confin’d ?72
Where thou dost hideous smile and frown73
As works thy heart’s desire,74
To take from Murder’s hand a crown75
A crown of lasting fire ?76
Doth Mercy send no spirit there,77
To spurn the demon thence,78
With looks so soft, so brightly fair,79
Of sleeping innocence ?80
T’ appal thee with two placid brows,81
Made holy by their years ;82
By brother’s blood that in them flows,83
And by the widow’s tears ?84
Nor Mercy spoke ? Alas ! she knew85
The tyrant’s tiger sway :86
And when the dagger Gloster drew,87
Still Mercy ceas’d to pray.88
So Murder, do the Hunchback’s hest,89
And lift him to a throne ;90
Grim king-maker, with serpent crest,91
And sullen eye of stone !92
The chamber door is open’d wide,93
And, silent as a shade,94
Doth slink remorseless Homicide,95
To do his fiendish trade.96
See Forrest, with a bloodless face97
And ghastly Dighton now98
Mark traitor Tyrrell’s coward pace,99
And sacrilegious brow !100
With stiffen’d lips and stinting breath,101
They pause within the room102
As they shall stand, when wak’d from death103
To hear their burning doom.104
Brief pause !  The tempting devil, gold,105
Yet holds them to the track ;106
As famine to the shepherd’s fold107
Goads on the wolfish pack.108
’Tis done : behold, grim Murder takes109
His death-inflicting stand !110
His face is flint—like writhing snakes111
The sinews of his hand.112
Oh God ! how terrible the strife !113
Like heaving wave, the bed114
Now rises, falls—now, big with life,115
Now silent, spent, and dead !116
The shriek is hush’d—the sob—the pray’r-117
And, breathing not a sound,118
Like sated tiger in his lair,119
Each murd’rer looks around !120
And now, they fearfully and slow121
The hellish deed disclose !122
E’en now each flow’r did sweetly grow,123
Now, wither’d is each rose !124
And Tyrrell look’d with brassy eye,125
Nor trembled, blench’d, nor sigh’d126
But, scoffing murder’d majesty,127
God save King Richard ! ” cried.128
God save—” cry Forrest, Dighton ; then129
The stifling tear-drop rolls130
Adown their cheeks—remorse-smit men ! —131
God save—our wretched souls ! ”132