Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 31

  • > Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
  • >
  • > Or, close the wall up with our English dead.
  • >
  • > ——————— And you, good yeomen,
  • >
  • > Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
  • >
  • > The mettle of your pasture—let us swear
  • >
  • > That you are worth your breeding.
  • >
  • > King Henry V
  • Cedric, although not greatly confident in Ulrica's message, omitted not t_ommunicate her promise to the Black Knight and Locksley. They were wel_leased to find they had a friend within the place, who might, in the momen_f need, be able to facilitate their entrance, and readily agreed with th_axon that a storm, under whatever disadvantages, ought to be attempted, a_he only means of liberating the prisoners now in the hands of the crue_ront-de-Boeuf.
  • "The royal blood of Alfred is endangered," said Cedric.
  • "The honour of a noble lady is in peril," said the Black Knight.
  • "And, by the Saint Christopher at my baldric," said the good yeoman, "wer_here no other cause than the safety of that poor faithful knave, Wamba, _ould jeopard a joint ere a hair of his head were hurt."
  • "And so would I," said the Friar; "what, sirs! I trust well that a fool—_ean, d'ye see me, sirs, a fool that is free of his guild and master of hi_raft, and can give as much relish and flavour to a cup of wine as ever _litch of bacon can—I say, brethren, such a fool shall never want a wise cler_o pray for or fight for him at a strait, while I can say a mass or flourish _artisan." And with that he made his heavy halberd to play around his head a_ shepherd boy flourishes his light crook.
  • "True, Holy Clerk," said the Black Knight, "true as if Saint Dunstan himsel_ad said it.—And now, good Locksley, were it not well that noble Cedric shoul_ssume the direction of this assault?"
  • "Not a jot I," returned Cedric; "I have never been wont to study either how t_ake or how to hold out those abodes of tyrannic power, which the Normans hav_rected in this groaning land. I will fight among the foremost; but my hones_eighbours well know I am not a trained soldier in the discipline of wars, o_he attack of strongholds."
  • "Since it stands thus with noble Cedric," said Locksley, "I am most willing t_ake on me the direction of the archery; and ye shall hang me up on my ow_rysting-tree, an the defenders be permitted to show themselves over the wall_ithout being stuck with as many shafts as there are cloves in a gammon o_acon at Christmas."
  • "Well said, stout yeoman," answered the Black Knight; "and if I be though_orthy to have a charge in these matters, and can find among these brave me_s many as are willing to follow a true English knight, for so I may surel_all myself, I am ready, with such skill as my experience has taught me, t_ead them to the attack of these walls."
  • The parts being thus distributed to the leaders, they commenced the firs_ssault, of which the reader has already heard the issue.
  • When the barbican was carried, the Sable Knight sent notice of the happy even_o Locksley, requesting him at the same time, to keep such a stric_bservation on the castle as might prevent the defenders from combining thei_orce for a sudden sally, and recovering the outwork which they had lost. Thi_he knight was chiefly desirous of avoiding, conscious that the men whom h_ed, being hasty and untrained volunteers, imperfectly armed and unaccustome_o discipline, must, upon any sudden attack, fight at great disadvantage wit_he veteran soldiers of the Norman knights, who were well provided with arm_oth defensive and offensive; and who, to match the zeal and high spirit o_he besiegers, had all the confidence which arises from perfect discipline an_he habitual use of weapons.
  • The knight employed the interval in causing to be constructed a sort o_loating bridge, or long raft, by means of which he hoped to cross the moat i_espite of the resistance of the enemy. This was a work of some time, whic_he leaders the less regretted, as it gave Ulrica leisure to execute her pla_f diversion in their favour, whatever that might be.
  • When the raft was completed, the Black Knight addressed the besiegers:—"I_vails not waiting here longer, my friends; the sun is descending to th_est—and I have that upon my hands which will not permit me to tarry with yo_nother day. Besides, it will be a marvel if the horsemen come not upon u_rom York, unless we speedily accomplish our purpose. Wherefore, one of ye g_o Locksley, and bid him commence a discharge of arrows on the opposite sid_f the castle, and move forward as if about to assault it; and you, tru_nglish hearts, stand by me, and be ready to thrust the raft endlong over th_oat whenever the postern on our side is thrown open. Follow me boldly across, and aid me to burst yon sallyport in the main wall of the castle. As many o_ou as like not this service, or are but ill armed to meet it, do you man th_op of the outwork, draw your bow-strings to your ears, and mind you quel_ith your shot whatever shall appear to man the rampart—Noble Cedric, wil_hou take the direction of those which remain?"
  • "Not so, by the soul of Hereward!" said the Saxon; "lead I cannot; but ma_osterity curse me in my grave, if I follow not with the foremost whereve_hou shalt point the way—The quarrel is mine, and well it becomes me to be i_he van of the battle."
  • "Yet, bethink thee, noble Saxon," said the knight, "thou hast neither hauberk, nor corslet, nor aught but that light helmet, target, and sword."
  • "The better!" answered Cedric; "I shall be the lighter to climb these walls.
  • And,—forgive the boast, Sir Knight,—thou shalt this day see the naked breas_f a Saxon as boldly presented to the battle as ever ye beheld the stee_orslet of a Norman."
  • "In the name of God, then," said the knight, "fling open the door, and launc_he floating bridge."
  • The portal, which led from the inner-wall of the barbican to the moat, an_hich corresponded with a sallyport in the main wall of the castle, was no_uddenly opened; the temporary bridge was then thrust forward, and soo_lashed in the waters, extending its length between the castle and outwork, and forming a slippery and precarious passage for two men abreast to cross th_oat. Well aware of the importance of taking the foe by surprise, the Blac_night, closely followed by Cedric, threw himself upon the bridge, and reache_he opposite side. Here he began to thunder with his axe upon the gate of th_astle, protected in part from the shot and stones cast by the defenders b_he ruins of the former drawbridge, which the Templar had demolished in hi_etreat from the barbican, leaving the counterpoise still attached to th_pper part of the portal. The followers of the knight had no such shelter; tw_ere instantly shot with cross-bow bolts, and two more fell into the moat; th_thers retreated back into the barbican.
  • The situation of Cedric and of the Black Knight was now truly dangerous, an_ould have been still more so, but for the constancy of the archers in th_arbican, who ceased not to shower their arrows upon the battlements, distracting the attention of those by whom they were manned, and thu_ffording a respite to their two chiefs from the storm of missiles which mus_therwise have overwhelmed them. But their situation was eminently perilous, and was becoming more so with every moment.
  • "Shame on ye all!" cried De Bracy to the soldiers around him; "do ye cal_ourselves cross-bowmen, and let these two dogs keep their station under th_alls of the castle?—Heave over the coping stones from the battlements, a_etter may not be—Get pick-axe and levers, and down with that huge pinnacle!"
  • pointing to a heavy piece of stone carved-work that projected from th_arapet.
  • At this moment the besiegers caught sight of the red flag upon the angle o_he tower which Ulrica had described to Cedric. The stout yeoman Locksley wa_he first who was aware of it, as he was hasting to the outwork, impatient t_ee the progress of the assault.
  • "Saint George!" he cried, "Merry Saint George for England!—To the charge, bol_eomen!—why leave ye the good knight and noble Cedric to storm the pas_lone?—make in, mad priest, show thou canst fight for thy rosary,—make in, brave yeomen!—the castle is ours, we have friends within—See yonder flag, i_s the appointed signal—Torquilstone is ours!—Think of honour, think o_poil—One effort, and the place is ours!"
  • With that he bent his good bow, and sent a shaft right through the breast o_ne of the men-at-arms, who, under De Bracy's direction, was loosening _ragment from one of the battlements to precipitate on the heads of Cedric an_he Black Knight. A second soldier caught from the hands of the dying man th_ron crow, with which he heaved at and had loosened the stone pinnacle, when, receiving an arrow through his head-piece, he dropped from the battlement_nto the moat a dead man. The men-at-arms were daunted, for no armour seeme_roof against the shot of this tremendous archer.
  • "Do you give ground, base knaves!" said De Bracy; "'Mount joye Sain_ennis!'—Give me the lever!"
  • And, snatching it up, he again assailed the loosened pinnacle, which was o_eight enough, if thrown down, not only to have destroyed the remnant of th_rawbridge, which sheltered the two foremost assailants, but also to have sun_he rude float of planks over which they had crossed. All saw the danger, an_he boldest, even the stout Friar himself, avoided setting foot on the raft.
  • Thrice did Locksley bend his shaft against De Bracy, and thrice did his arro_ound back from the knight's armour of proof.
  • "Curse on thy Spanish steel-coat!" said Locksley, "had English smith forge_t, these arrows had gone through, an as if it had been silk or sendal." H_hen began to call out, "Comrades! friends! noble Cedric! bear back, and le_he ruin fall."
  • His warning voice was unheard, for the din which the knight himself occasione_y his strokes upon the postern would have drowned twenty war-trumpets. Th_aithful Gurth indeed sprung forward on the planked bridge, to warn Cedric o_is impending fate, or to share it with him. But his warning would have com_oo late; the massive pinnacle already tottered, and De Bracy, who stil_eaved at his task, would have accomplished it, had not the voice of th_emplar sounded close in his ears:—
  • "All is lost, De Bracy, the castle burns."
  • "Thou art mad to say so!" replied the knight.
  • "It is all in a light flame on the western side. I have striven in vain t_xtinguish it."
  • With the stern coolness which formed the basis of his character, Brian d_ois-Guilbert communicated this hideous intelligence, which was not so calml_eceived by his astonished comrade.
  • "Saints of Paradise!" said De Bracy; "what is to be done? I vow to Sain_icholas of Limoges a candlestick of pure gold—"
  • "Spare thy vow," said the Templar, "and mark me. Lead thy men down, as if to _ally; throw the postern-gate open—There are but two men who occupy the float, fling them into the moat, and push across for the barbican. I will charge fro_he main gate, and attack the barbican on the outside; and if we can regai_hat post, be assured we shall defend ourselves until we are relieved, or a_east till they grant us fair quarter."
  • "It is well thought upon," said De Bracy; "I will play my part —Templar, tho_ilt not fail me?"
  • "Hand and glove, I will not!" said Bois-Guilbert. "But haste thee, in the nam_f God!"
  • De Bracy hastily drew his men together, and rushed down to the postern-gate, which he caused instantly to be thrown open. But scarce was this done ere th_ortentous strength of the Black Knight forced his way inward in despite of D_racy and his followers. Two of the foremost instantly fell, and the rest gav_ay notwithstanding all their leader's efforts to stop them.
  • "Dogs!" said De Bracy, "will ye let TWO men win our only pass for safety?"
  • "He is the devil!" said a veteran man-at-arms, bearing back from the blows o_heir sable antagonist.
  • "And if he be the devil," replied De Bracy, "would you fly from him into th_outh of hell?—the castle burns behind us, villains!—let despair give yo_ourage, or let me forward! I will cope with this champion myself"
  • And well and chivalrous did De Bracy that day maintain the fame he ha_cquired in the civil wars of that dreadful period. The vaulted passage t_hich the postern gave entrance, and in which these two redoubted champion_ere now fighting hand to hand, rung with the furious blows which they deal_ach other, De Bracy with his sword, the Black Knight with his ponderous axe.
  • At length the Norman received a blow, which, though its force was partl_arried by his shield, for otherwise never more would De Bracy have agai_oved limb, descended yet with such violence on his crest, that he measure_is length on the paved floor.
  • "Yield thee, De Bracy," said the Black Champion, stooping over him, an_olding against the bars of his helmet the fatal poniard with which th_nights dispatched their enemies, (and which was called the dagger o_ercy,)—"yield thee, Maurice de Bracy, rescue or no rescue, or thou art but _ead man."
  • "I will not yield," replied De Bracy faintly, "to an unknown conqueror. Tel_e thy name, or work thy pleasure on me—it shall never be said that Maurice d_racy was prisoner to a nameless churl."
  • The Black Knight whispered something into the ear of the vanquished.
  • "I yield me to be true prisoner, rescue or no rescue," answered the Norman, exchanging his tone of stern and determined obstinacy for one of deep thoug_ullen submission.
  • "Go to the barbican," said the victor, in a tone of authority, "and there wai_y further orders."
  • "Yet first, let me say," said De Bracy, "what it imports thee to know. Wilfre_f Ivanhoe is wounded and a prisoner, and will perish in the burning castl_ithout present help."
  • "Wilfred of Ivanhoe!" exclaimed the Black Knight—"prisoner, and perish!—Th_ife of every man in the castle shall answer it if a hair of his head b_inged—Show me his chamber!"
  • "Ascend yonder winding stair," said De Bracy; "it leads to his apartment—Wil_hou not accept my guidance?" he added, in a submissive voice.
  • "No. To the barbican, and there wait my orders. I trust thee not, De Bracy."
  • During this combat and the brief conversation which ensued, Cedric, at th_ead of a body of men, among whom the Friar was conspicuous, had pushed acros_he bridge as soon as they saw the postern open, and drove back the dispirite_nd despairing followers of De Bracy, of whom some asked quarter, some offere_ain resistance, and the greater part fled towards the court-yard. De Brac_imself arose from the ground, and cast a sorrowful glance after hi_onqueror. "He trusts me not!" he repeated; "but have I deserved his trust?"
  • He then lifted his sword from the floor, took off his helmet in token o_ubmission, and, going to the barbican, gave up his sword to Locksley, whom h_et by the way.
  • As the fire augmented, symptoms of it became soon apparent in the chamber, where Ivanhoe was watched and tended by the Jewess Rebecca. He had bee_wakened from his brief slumber by the noise of the battle; and his attendant, who had, at his anxious desire, again placed herself at the window to watc_nd report to him the fate of the attack, was for some time prevented fro_bserving either, by the increase of the smouldering and stifling vapour. A_ength the volumes of smoke which rolled into the apartment—the cries fo_ater, which were heard even above the din of the battle made them sensible o_he progress of this new danger.
  • "The castle burns," said Rebecca; "it burns!—What can we do to sav_urselves?"
  • "Fly, Rebecca, and save thine own life," said Ivanhoe, "for no human aid ca_vail me."
  • "I will not fly," answered Rebecca; "we will be saved or perish together—An_et, great God!—my father, my father—what will be his fate!"
  • At this moment the door of the apartment flew open, and the Templar presente_imself,—a ghastly figure, for his gilded armour was broken and bloody, an_he plume was partly shorn away, partly burnt from his casque. "I have foun_hee," said he to Rebecca; "thou shalt prove I will keep my word to share wea_nd woe with thee—There is but one path to safety, I have cut my way throug_ifty dangers to point it to thee—up, and instantly follo_e!"[[32]](footnotes.xml#footnote_32) "Alone," answered Rebecca, "I will no_ollow thee. If thou wert born of woman—if thou hast but a touch of huma_harity in thee —if thy heart be not hard as thy breastplate—save my age_ather—save this wounded knight!" "A knight," answered the Templar, with hi_haracteristic calmness, "a knight, Rebecca, must encounter his fate, whethe_t meet him in the shape of sword or flame—and who recks how or where a Je_eets with his?" "Savage warrior," said Rebecca, "rather will I perish in th_lames than accept safety from thee!" "Thou shalt not choose, Rebecca—onc_idst thou foil me, but never mortal did so twice." So saying, he seized o_he terrified maiden, who filled the air with her shrieks, and bore her out o_he room in his arms in spite of her cries, and without regarding the menace_nd defiance which Ivanhoe thundered against him. "Hound of the Temple—stai_o thine Order—set free the damsel! Traitor of Bois-Guilbert, it is Ivanho_ommands thee!—Villain, I will have thy heart's blood!" "I had not found thee, Wilfred," said the Black Knight, who at that instant entered the apartment,
  • "but for thy shouts." "If thou best true knight," said Wilfred, "think not o_e —pursue yon ravisher—save the Lady Rowena—look to the noble Cedric!" "I_heir turn," answered he of the Fetterlock, "but thine is first." And seizin_pon Ivanhoe, he bore him off with as much ease as the Templar had carried of_ebecca, rushed with him to the postern, and having there delivered his burde_o the care of two yeomen, he again entered the castle to assist in the rescu_f the other prisoners. One turret was now in bright flames, which flashed ou_uriously from window and shot-hole. But in other parts, the great thicknes_f the walls and the vaulted roofs of the apartments, resisted the progress o_he flames, and there the rage of man still triumphed, as the scarce mor_readful element held mastery elsewhere; for the besiegers pursued th_efenders of the castle from chamber to chamber, and satiated in their bloo_he vengeance which had long animated them against the soldiers of the tyran_ront-de-Boeuf. Most of the garrison resisted to the uttermost—few of the_sked quarter—none received it. The air was filled with groans and clashing o_rms—the floors were slippery with the blood of despairing and expirin_retches. Through this scene of confusion, Cedric rushed in quest of Rowena, while the faithful Gurth, following him closely through the "melee", neglecte_is own safety while he strove to avert the blows that were aimed at hi_aster. The noble Saxon was so fortunate as to reach his ward's apartment jus_s she had abandoned all hope of safety, and, with a crucifix clasped in agon_o her bosom, sat in expectation of instant death. He committed her to th_harge of Gurth, to be conducted in safety to the barbican, the road to whic_as now cleared of the enemy, and not yet interrupted by the flames. Thi_ccomplished, the loyal Cedric hastened in quest of his friend Athelstane, determined, at every risk to himself, to save that last scion of Saxo_oyalty. But ere Cedric penetrated as far as the old hall in which he ha_imself been a prisoner, the inventive genius of Wamba had procured liberatio_or himself and his companion in adversity. When the noise of the conflic_nnounced that it was at the hottest, the Jester began to shout, with th_tmost power of his lungs, "Saint George and the dragon!—Bonny Saint Georg_or merry England!—The castle is won!" And these sounds he rendered yet mor_earful, by banging against each other two or three pieces of rusty armou_hich lay scattered around the hall. A guard, which had been stationed in th_uter, or anteroom, and whose spirits were already in a state of alarm, too_right at Wamba's clamour, and, leaving the door open behind them, ran to tel_he Templar that foemen had entered the old hall. Meantime the prisoners foun_o difficulty in making their escape into the anteroom, and from thence int_he court of the castle, which was now the last scene of contest. Here sat th_ierce Templar, mounted on horseback, surrounded by several of the garriso_oth on horse and foot, who had united their strength to that of this renowne_eader, in order to secure the last chance of safety and retreat whic_emained to them. The drawbridge had been lowered by his orders, but th_assage was beset; for the archers, who had hitherto only annoyed the castl_n that side by their missiles, no sooner saw the flames breaking out, and th_ridge lowered, than they thronged to the entrance, as well to prevent th_scape of the garrison, as to secure their own share of booty ere the castl_hould be burnt down. On the other hand, a party of the besiegers who ha_ntered by the postern were now issuing out into the court-yard, and attackin_ith fury the remnant of the defenders who were thus assaulted on both side_t once. Animated, however, by despair, and supported by the example of thei_ndomitable leader, the remaining soldiers of the castle fought with th_tmost valour; and, being well-armed, succeeded more than once in driving bac_he assailants, though much inferior in numbers. Rebecca, placed on horsebac_efore one of the Templar's Saracen slaves, was in the midst of the littl_arty; and Bois-Guilbert, notwithstanding the confusion of the bloody fray, showed every attention to her safety. Repeatedly he was by her side, and, neglecting his own defence, held before her the fence of his triangular steel- plated shield; and anon starting from his position by her, he cried his war- cry, dashed forward, struck to earth the most forward of the assailants, an_as on the same instant once more at her bridle rein. Athelstane, who, as th_eader knows, was slothful, but not cowardly, beheld the female form whom th_emplar protected thus sedulously, and doubted not that it was Rowena whom th_night was carrying off, in despite of all resistance which could be offered.
  • "By the soul of Saint Edward," he said, "I will rescue her from yonder over- proud knight, and he shall die by my hand!" "Think what you do!" cried Wamba;
  • "hasty hand catches frog for fish—by my bauble, yonder is none of my Lad_owena—see but her long dark locks!—Nay, an ye will not know black from white, ye may be leader, but I will be no follower—no bones of mine shall be broke_nless I know for whom.—And you without armour too!—Bethink you, silk bonne_ever kept out steel blade. —Nay, then, if wilful will to water, wilful mus_rench. —'Deus vobiscum', most doughty Athelstane!"—he concluded, loosenin_he hold which he had hitherto kept upon the Saxon's tunic. To snatch a mac_rom the pavement, on which it lay beside one whose dying grasp had jus_elinquished it—to rush on the Templar's band, and to strike in quic_uccession to the right and left, levelling a warrior at each blow, was, fo_thelstane's great strength, now animated with unusual fury, but the work of _ingle moment; he was soon within two yards of Bois-Guilbert, whom he defie_n his loudest tone. "Turn, false-hearted Templar! let go her whom thou ar_nworthy to touch—turn, limb of a hand of murdering and hypocritical robbers!"
  • "Dog!" said the Templar, grinding his teeth, "I will teach thee to blasphem_he holy Order of the Temple of Zion;" and with these words, half-wheeling hi_teed, he made a demi-courbette towards the Saxon, and rising in the stirrups, so as to take full advantage of the descent of the horse, he discharged _earful blow upon the head of Athelstane. Well said Wamba, that silken bonne_eeps out no steel blade. So trenchant was the Templar's weapon, that it shor_sunder, as it had been a willow twig, the tough and plaited handle of th_ace, which the ill-fated Saxon reared to parry the blow, and, descending o_is head, levelled him with the earth. "'Ha! Beau-seant!'" exclaimed Bois- Guilbert, "thus be it to the maligners of the Temple-knights!" Takin_dvantage of the dismay which was spread by the fall of Athelstane, an_alling aloud, "Those who would save themselves, follow me!" he pushed acros_he drawbridge, dispersing the archers who would have intercepted them. He wa_ollowed by his Saracens, and some five or six men-at-arms, who had mounte_heir horses. The Templar's retreat was rendered perilous by the numbers o_rrows shot off at him and his party; but this did not prevent him fro_alloping round to the barbican, of which, according to his previous plan, h_upposed it possible De Bracy might have been in possession. "De Bracy! D_racy!" he shouted, "art thou there?" "I am here," replied De Bracy, "but I a_ prisoner." "Can I rescue thee?" cried Bois-Guilbert. "No," replied De Bracy;
  • "I have rendered me, rescue or no rescue. I will be true prisoner. Sav_hyself—there are hawks abroad —put the seas betwixt you and England—I dar_ot say more." "Well," answered the Templar, "an thou wilt tarry there, remember I have redeemed word and glove. Be the hawks where they will, methinks the walls of the Preceptory of Templestowe will be cover sufficient, and thither will I, like heron to her haunt." Having thus spoken, he gallope_ff with his followers. Those of the castle who had not gotten to horse, stil_ontinued to fight desperately with the besiegers, after the departure of th_emplar, but rather in despair of quarter than that they entertained any hop_f escape. The fire was spreading rapidly through all parts of the castle, when Ulrica, who had first kindled it, appeared on a turret, in the guise o_ne of the ancient furies, yelling forth a war-song, such as was of yor_aised on the field of battle by the scalds of the yet heathen Saxons. He_ong dishevelled grey hair flew back from her uncovered head; the inebriatin_elight of gratified vengeance contended in her eyes with the fire o_nsanity; and she brandished the distaff which she held in her hand, as if sh_ad been one of the Fatal Sisters, who spin and abridge the thread of huma_ife. Tradition has preserved some wild strophes of the barbarous hymn whic_he chanted wildly amid that scene of fire and of slaughter:— {verse 1. Whe_he bright steel, Sons of the White Dragon! Kindle the torch, Daughter o_engist! The steel glimmers not for the carving of the banquet, It is hard, broad, and sharply pointed; The torch goeth not to the bridal chamber, I_teams and glitters blue with sulphur. Whet the steel, the raven croaks! Ligh_he torch, Zernebock is yelling! Whet the steel, sons of the Dragon! Kindl_he torch, daughter of Hengist! 2. The black cloud is low over the thane'_astle The eagle screams—he rides on its bosom. Scream not, grey rider of th_able cloud, Thy banquet is prepared! The maidens of Valhalla look forth, Th_ace of Hengist will send them guests. Shake your black tresses, maidens o_alhalla! And strike your loud timbrels for joy! Many a haughty step bends t_our halls, Many a helmed head. 3. Dark sits the evening upon the thane_astle, The black clouds gather round; Soon shall they be red as the blood o_he valiant! The destroyer of forests shall shake his red crest against them.
  • He, the bright consumer of palaces, Broad waves he his blazing banner, Red, wide and dusky, Over the strife of the valiant: His joy is in the clashin_words and broken bucklers; He loves to lick the hissing blood as it burst_arm from the wound! 4\. All must perish! The sword cleaveth the helmet; Th_trong armour is pierced by the lance; Fire devoureth the dwelling of princes, Engines break down the fences of the battle. All must perish! The race o_engist is gone— The name of Horsa is no more! Shrink not then from your doom, sons of the sword! Let your blades drink blood like wine; Feast ye in th_anquet of slaughter, By the light of the blazing halls! Strong be your sword_hile your blood is warm, And spare neither for pity nor fear, For vengeanc_ath but an hour; Strong hate itself shall expire I also mus_erish![[33]](footnotes.xml#footnote_33) {verse The towering flames had no_urmounted every obstruction, and rose to the evening skies one huge an_urning beacon, seen far and wide through the adjacent country. Tower afte_ower crashed down, with blazing roof and rafter; and the combatants wer_riven from the court-yard. The vanquished, of whom very few remained, scattered and escaped into the neighbouring wood. The victors, assembling i_arge bands, gazed with wonder, not unmixed with fear, upon the flames, i_hich their own ranks and arms glanced dusky red. The maniac figure of th_axon Ulrica was for a long time visible on the lofty stand she had chosen, tossing her arms abroad with wild exultation, as if she reined empress of th_onflagration which she had raised. At length, with a terrific crash, th_hole turret gave way, and she perished in the flames which had consumed he_yrant. An awful pause of horror silenced each murmur of the armed spectators, who, for the space of several minutes, stirred not a finger, save to sign th_ross. The voice of Locksley was then heard, "Shout, yeomen!—the den o_yrants is no more! Let each bring his spoil to our chosen place of rendezvou_t the Trysting-tree in the Harthill-walk; for there at break of day will w_ake just partition among our own bands, together with our worthy allies i_his great deed of vengeance."