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But, when he came, his children twain,
With briny tears did wet the floor
"O good Sir Charles!" said Canterlone,
Speak boldly, man," said brave Sir Charles, "What says thy traitor king?"
"I grieve to tell, before
yon sun Does from the welkin fly,
He hath upon his honor sworn,
That thou shalt surely die."
"We all must die," quoth brave Sir Charles,
But tell thy king, for mine he's not,
Than live his slave, as many are,
For good Sir Charles's fate.
Then Master Canning sought the king,
We will to it attend."
My noble liege, all my request
Is for a noble knight,
Who, though mayhap he has done wrong,
He has a spouse and children twain;
If that you are resolv'd to let
Charles Baldwin die to-day."
Speak not of such a traitor vile,"
"Before the evening star doth sheen,
Justice does loudly for him call,
Speak, Master Canning, what thing else
My noble liege," good Canning said, "Leave justice to our God,
And lay the iron rule aside;
Be thine the olive rod.
Was God to search our hearts and reins, The best were sinners great;
Christ's vicar only knows no sin,
In all this mortal state.
Let mercy rule thy infant reign,
All sovereigns shall endure.
Thy crown upon thy children's brows
Canning, away! this traitor vile
Has scorn'd my power and me; How canst thou then for such a man Intreat my clemency ?"
"My noble liege, the truly brave
Respect a brave and noble mind,
"Canning, away! By God in heaven,
I will not taste a bit of bread
Whilst this Sir Charles doth live.
Then Canning dropped a briny tear,
With heart brim-full of gnawing grief,
And sat him down upon a stool,
And tears began to flow.
"We all must die," quoth brave Sir Charles, "What boots it how or when?
Death is the sure, the certain fate
Say why, my friend, thy honest soul
Is it for my most welcome doom
Death I despise, and all the power
When through the tyrant's welcome means
The God I serve will soon provide
For both my sons and wife.
Before I saw the lightsome sun,
This was appointed me:
Shall mortal man repine or grudge
What God ordains to be?
How oft in battle have I stood,
When thousands died around;
How did I know that every dart
Might not find passage to my heart,
And close mine eyes for aye.
And shall I now, for fear of death,
Ne! from my heart fly childish fear;
Ah godlike Henry! God forfend,
Of parents of great note;
I make no doubt but he is gone
He taught me justice and the laws
And eke he taught me how to know
Nor let my servants drive
The hungry from my door.
And none can say but all my life
I have a spouse, go ask of her
I have a king, and none can lay
In Lent and on the holy eve,
Why should I then appear dismay'd
No! hapless Henry, I rejoice,
I shall ne see thy death:
Most willingly in thy just cause
Oh fickle people! ruin'd land!
That you did chop [exchange] your easy days
I do defy the traitor's power,
He cannot harm my mind.
And no rich monument of brass
Yet in the holy book above,
Which time can't eat away,
There, with the servants of the Lord,
Then welcome death! for life eterne
Nor would I even wish to live
With my dear wife to stay."
Quoth Canning, ""Tis a goodly thing
And now the bell began to toll,
And clarions to sound;
Sir Charles he heard the horse's feet
And just before the officers
His loving wife came in;
Weeping unfeigned tears of woe,