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But that a ribald King and Court
the lofty line.
Warm’d by such names, well may we then,
Thy Genius, Chivalry, hath slept : in subduing Spain, and restoring it to the lawful prince, though a great tyrant, Don Pedro the Cruel; which, for the compass of time, including only the expedition of one year, for the greatness of the action, and its answerable event, for the magnanimity of the English hero, opposed to the ingratitude of the person whom he restored, and for the many beautiful episodes which I had interwoven with the principal design, together with the characters of the chiefest English persons (wherein after Virgil and Spenser, I would have taken occasion to represent my living friends and patrons of the noblest families, and also shadowed the events of future ages in the succession of our imperial line,) - with these helps, and those of the machines which I have mentioned, I might perhaps have done as well as some of my predecessors, or at least chalked out a way for others to amend my errors in a like design; but being encouraged only with fair words by King Charles II., my little salary ill paid, and no prospect of a future subsistence, I was then discouraged in the beginning of my attempt; and now age has overtaken me, and want, a more insufferable evil, through the change of the times, has wholly disabled
There sound the harpings of the North,
1 The new Forest in Hampshire, anciently so called.
2 The “History of Bevis of Hampton" is abridged by my friend Mr. George Ellis, with that liveliness which extracts amusement even out of the most rude and unpromising of our old tales of chivalry. Ascapart, a most important personage in the romance, is thus described in an extract :
" This geaunt was mighty and strong,
And that Red King,' who, while of old,
His lips were great, and hung aside ;
Specimens of Vetrical Romances, vol. in., p. 136. I am happy to say that the memory of Sir Bevis is still fragrant in his town of Southampton; the gate of which is sentincled by the effigies of that doughty knight-errant and his gigantic associate.
i William Rufus. ? Partenoper de Blois, a poem, by W. S, Rose, Esq., was published in 1808.