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As was very natural, the ancient warriors held their horses in high esteem : they even fancied that this most beautiful of animals entered into their feelings, and partook of their glory or their grief. The rider would
And answer to the voice that praises him." And afterwards upon the spot where his lord might have been slain or conquered, this faithful animal would sometimes be found,
his silver mane
And who had thus again forsaken him."
Attachment and admiration for the horse appear to be almost universal. The Hebrew poet, whoever he was, that composed the book of Job, has given a sublime description of the warhorse :
“ Hast thou given the horse strength ? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder ? Canst thou make him afraid as a grass. hopper? The glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength : he goeth on to meet the armed men.
He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage : neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet.
He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha, and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting."
EXTRACT FROM PALAMON AND ARC1TE.
"In Athens all was pleasure, mirth and play, All proper to the spring, and sprightly May.
Now scarce the dawning day began to spring,
One laced the helm, another held the lance :
The trumpets, next the gate, in order, placed,
The throng is in the midst : the common crew
But most their looks on the black monarch bend,
Waked by the cries, th' Athenian chief arose,
Our sovereign lord has pondered in his mind The means to spare the blood of gentle kind ; The keener edge of battle to rebate, The troops for honour fighting, nor for hate. He wills, not death should terminate the strife; And wounds, should wounds ensue, be short of life : But issues, ere the fight, his dread command, That slings afar, and poniards hand to hand, Be banished from the field ; that none shall dare With shortened swords to stab in closer war ; But in fair combat fight with manly strength, Nor push with biting point, but strike at length. The tourney is allowed but one career, Of the tough ash, with the sharp-grinded spear ; But knights unhorsed may rise from off the plain, And fight on foot, their honour to regain ; Nor, if at mischief taken, on the ground Be slain, but pris'ners to the pillar bound, At either barrier place ; nor (captives made) Be freed, or armed anew the fight invade. The chief of either side, bereft of life, Or yielded to his foe, concludes the strife. Thus dooms the lord !—Now valiant knights, and young Fight each his fill, with swords and maces long.'
The herald ends : the vaulted firmament With loud acclaims and vast applause is rent: • Heaven guard a prince so gracious and so good, So just, and yet so provident of blood!' This was the general cry. The trumpets sound; And warlike symphony is heard around. The marching troops through Athens take their way, The great earl-marshal orders their array. The fair, from high, the passing pomp behold; A rain of flow'rs is from the windows rolled. The casements are with golden tissue spread, And horses' hoofs, for earth, on silken tap'stry tread; The king goes midmost, and the rivals ride In equal rank, and close his either side.
Next after these, there rode the royal wife, With Emily, the cause and the reward of strife. The following cavalcade, by three and three, Proceed by titles marshaled in degree. Thus through the southern gate they take their way, · And at the list arrived ere prime of day. There, parting from the king, the chiefs divide, And, wheeling East and West, before their many ride. Ah* Athenian monarch mounts his throne on high, And, after him, the queen, and Emily: Next these, the kindred of the crown are graced With nearer seats, and lords by ladies placed.
Scarce were they seated, when with clamours loud
At the self moment enters Palamon
Thus ranged, the herald for the last proclaims
At this, the challenger, with fierce defy,
Full oft the rivals met ; and neither spared
So when a tiger sucks the bullock's blood,
At length, as fate foredoomed, and all things tend
The royal judge, on his tribunal placed,
The people rend the skies with vast applause;
The preceding verses nearly agree with the description of a tournament, taken from Ivanhoe. Dryden's scene of the tournament is Athens. A few of the expressions used in this description may not be readily understood.
Crested morions, with their plumy pride.—The morion was the cap worn by the Knights, adorned with a plume, and expressing in its appearance something of the dignity of the wearer.