Constantia: or, The Man of Law's Tale, Modernized from Chaucer - Part 13

The Monarch thus on every side distrest,
And hope extinguish'd in his valiant breast,
Turn'd to his Queen, he sent the parting look,
And brief the eternal last adieu he took:
" Since here, " he cried, " our hapless loves must end,
" Where this arm fails, may mightier Heaven defend!
" This is my last, my only, fond desire:
" Too blest am I, who in thy cause expire. "
So saying, with recruited powers he glows,
Exalted treads, and overlooks his foes:
Of more than mortal size the warrior seems,
And terror from his eye imperial streams.
The circling host his single voice defies;
Amid the throng, with sury wing'd, he flies:
Deep bites his sword, in heaps on heaps they fall;
Hands, arms, and heads, bespread the sanguin'd hall;
Untired with toil, resistless in his course,
Disdain gave fury, and despair gave force.
As here, and there, his conquering steps he bends,
Down his fair form the purpling stream descends;
Exhausted nature would persuade to yield,
But courage, still tenacious, holds the field.
As when the lamp its wavering light essays,
The source consumed that fed the vital blaze,
Extinguish'd now its kindly flame appears,
And now alost a livelier radiance rears;
Subsides by fits, by fits again aspires,
And bright, but doubtful, burn its fainting fires;
Till recollected to one force of light,
Sudden she flashes into endless night —
So the brave Youth the blaze of life renews,
Reels, stands, defends, attacks, and still subdues;
Till every vein, and every channel drain'd,
One last effort his valiant arm sustain'd:
As lightning swift, he sped the latest blow,
And greatly fell, expiring on his foe.

As should an oak within some village stand,
Young, tall, and straight, the favourite of the land,
Beneath the dews of heaven sublime he grows,
Beneath his shade the wearied find repose;
To deck his boughs each morn the maidens rise,
And youths around his form contest the prize:
Yet haply if a sudden storm descend,
Sway'd by the blast, his beauteous branches bend;
But vigorous, to their towering height recoil,
Maintain the combat, and outbrave the toil;
Till the red bolt with levell'd ruin shoots,
And cuts the pillar'd fabrick from the roots:
Swift falls the beauty o'er a length of ground;
The nymphs and swains incessant mourn around.
So did the Youth with living form excel,
So fair, so tall, and so lamented, fell!
Relenting traitors would revive the dead,
And weep the blood their ruthless weapons shed:
One tender pang the dire Sultana felt,
And nature, spite of hell, compels to melt.
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