Scene-28 The Courtyard of the Old Farm.
Eustace and other followers of Hugo and Eric
lounging about. Enter Thurston hastily, with 
swords under his arms.



THURSTON (Sings, cleaning and sharpening)

Hurrah! for the sword!  I hold one here,
And I scour the rust and say,
'Tis the umpire this, and the arbiter,
That settles in the fairest way;
For it stays false tongues and it cools hot blood,
And it lowers the proud one's crest;
And the law of the land is sometimes good,
But the law of the sword is best.
In all disputes 'tis the shortest plan,
The surest and best appeal;--
What else can decide between man and man?
Chorus of all
Hurrah! for the bright blue steel!

 
Hurrah! for the sword of Hugo, our lord!
'Tis a trusty friend and true;
It has held its own on a grassy sward,
When its blade shone bright and blue.
Though it never has stricken in anger hard,
And has scarcely been cleansed from rust,
Since the day when it broke through Harold's guard
With our favourite cut and thrust;
Yet Osric's crown will look somewhat red,
And his brain will be apt to reel,
Should the trenchant blade come down on his head--
Chorus of all
Hurrah! for the bright blue steel!

Hurrah! for the sword of our ally bold,
It has done good service to him;
It has held its own on an open wold,
When its edge was in keener trim,
It may baffle the plots of the wisest skull,
It may slacken the strongest limb,
Make the brains full of forethought void and null,
And the eyes full of far-sight dim;
And the hasty hands are content to wait,
And the knees are compelled to kneel,
Where it falls with the weight of a downstroke straight--
Chorus of all
Hurrah! for the bright blue steel!

Hurrah! for the sword-- I've one of my own;
And I think I may safely say,
Give my enemy his, let us stand alone,
And our quarrel shall end one way;
One way or the other--it matters not much,
So the question be fairly tried.
Oh! peacemaker good, bringing peace with a touch,
Thy clients will be satisfied.
As a judge, thou dost judge-- as a witness, attest,
And thou settest thy hand and seal,
And the winner is blest, and the loser at rest--
Chorus of all
Hurrah! for the bright blue steel!
               [Hugo and Eric enter 
                             during the last verse of the song.

HUGO

Boot and saddle, old friend,
Their defiance they send;
Time is short--make an end
Of thy song.
Let the sword in this fight
Strike as hard for the right
As it once struck for might
Leagued with wrong.

Ha! Rollo, thou champest
Thy bridle and stampest,
For the rush of the tempest
Dost long?
Ho! the kites will grow fatter
On the corpses we scatter,
In the paths where we shatter
Their throng.

When Osric, the craven,
Hath reared the black raven
'Gainst monks that are shaven
And cowl'd:
Where the Teuton and Hun sit,
In the track of our onset,
Will the wolves, ere the sunset,
Have howl'd.

Retribution is good,
They have revell'd in blood,
Like the wolves of the wood
They have prowl'd.
Birds of prey they have been,
And of carrion unclean,
And their own nests (I ween)
They have foul'd.

ERIC
Two messengers since
Yestermorn have gone hence,
And ere long will the Prince
Bring relief.
Shall we pause?--they are ten
To our one, but their men
Are ill-arm'd, and scarce ken
Their own chief;
And for us we give thanks:
Their disorderly ranks,
If assail'd in the flanks,
Will as lief
Run as fight--loons and lords.

Hugo
Mount your steeds! draw your swords!
Take your places! My words
Shall be brief:
Ride round by the valley,
Through pass and gorge sally--
The linden trees rally
Beneath.
Then, Eric and Thurston,
Their ranks while we burst on,
Try which will be first on
The heath.

(Aside)
Look again, mother mine,
Through the happy starshine,
For my sins dost thou pine?
With my breath,
See! thy pangs are all done,
For the life of thy son:
Thou shalt never feel one
For his death.

[They all go out but Hugo,
who lingers to tighten his girths.
Orion appears suddenly in the gateway.
ORION
Stay, friend! I keep guard on
Thy soul's gates; hold hard on
Thy horse. Hope of pardon
Hath fled!
Bethink once, I crave thee,
Can recklessness save thee?
Hell sooner will have thee
Instead.

(Aside)
Back! My soul, tempest-toss'd,
Hath her Rubicon cross'd:
She shall fly--saved or lost!
Void of dread!
Sharper pang than the steel,
Thou, oh, serpent! shalt feel,
Should I set the bruised heel
On thy head.

                 [He rides out.
                   Adam Lindsay Gordon


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