Constantia: or, The Man of Law's Tale, Modernized from Chaucer - Part 22

Then A LLA — " Soon as Phosphor's dewy ray
" Shall gild the shade, bright promiser of day,
" Prepared and meted with the morning light,
" Be the rail'd barrier, and the lists of fight:
" Then, e'er the sun, swift mounting up the sky,
" Views the wide world with his meridian eye,
" While issuing from the trumpet's brazen throat
" Defiance loudly breathes its martial note,
" If haply Heaven, not impotent to aid,
" With interposing arm protect the Maid,
" Some angel, or unlook'd for champion send,
" And with prevailing ministry defend;
" Freed be the Fair, and spotless be her fame —
" E'er evening else, she feeds the hungry flame! "
So spake the Prince, descending from his throne:
Sad through the concourse went the lengthening groan;
The Maid, to death inevitably doom'd,
A guiltless victim every heart presumed;
To her they consecrate the pitying tear,
Nor e'er, till then, could think their Prince severe.

C ONSTANTIA (when with firm tho' hopeless eye
She now perceived the fatal hour drew nigh)
In conscious innocence erects her head:
With doubt exiled, all care and terror fled;
Death stole from triumph to adorn her state,
And gave a smile beyond the reach of fate.
All night, in prayer and mental song, the Maid,
With Angels choir'd, her soul for Heaven array'd:
Light from her heart, as summer's careless robe,
Dropt each affection of this sin-worn globe;
O'er honour, late so loved, o'er brutal foes,
And every sense of mortal coil she rose;
Till tow'rd the dawn she gently sunk to rest,
With all Elysium open'd in her breast.

Gray morning now involved in rising dew,
O'er the capt hills her streaming mantle threw;
While, far beyond, the horizontal sun
With beam of intersected brightness shone;
Gold paved o'er ocean stretch'd his glittering road,
And to the shore the lengthening radiance glowed.
Full in his sight, and open to the main,
Concurring squadrons throng'd Northumbria's plain:
To learn what fate attends the foreign Fair,
Each sex and age in mingling routs repair,
Whom, pour'd by millions to the listed field,
Dispeopled towns, and emptied hamlets yield.
Within the lists, conspicuous to the sight,
Rode the proud stature of the Saxon knight:
His mien, with thirst of opposition fired,
Appeared to menace what it most desired;
Gave all to with some champion for the Fair,
Gave all to with the fight, but none to dare.
His bold defiance o'er the measured ground,
The brazen blasts of winding clarions sound;
While strong lung'd heralds challenge to the fight,
And seem, at once, to threaten, and invite.
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