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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Bernardine du Born

By Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791–1865)

[From Poems. Second Edition. 1836.]

KING HENRY sat upon his throne,

And full of wrath and scorn,

His eye a recreant knight surveyed—

Sir Bernardine du Born.

And he that haughty glance returned,

Like lion in his lair,

And loftily his unchanged brow

Gleamed through his crisped hair.

“Thou art a traitor to the realm,

Lord of a lawless band,

The bold in speech, the fierce in broil,

The troubler of our land;

Thy castles, and thy rebel-towers,

Are forfeit to the crown,

And thou beneath the Norman axe

Shalt end thy base renown.

“Deignest thou no word to bar thy doom,

Thou, with strange madness fired?

Hath reason quite forsook thy breast?”

Plantagenet inquired.

Sir Bernard turned him toward the king,

He blenched not in his pride;

“My reason failed, my gracious liege,

The year Prince Henry died.”

Quick at that name a cloud of woe

Passed o’er the monarch’s brow,

Touched was that bleeding cord of love,

To which the mightiest bow.

Again swept back the tide of years,

Again his first-born moved.

The fair, the graceful, the sublime,

The erring, yet beloved.

And ever, cherished by his side,

One chosen friend was near,

To share in boyhood’s ardent sport

Or youth’s untamed career;

With him the merry chase he sought

Beneath the dewy morn,

With him in knightly tourney rode,

This Bernardine du Born.

Then in the mourning father’s soul

Each trace of ire grew dim,

And what his buried idol loved

Seemed cleansed of guilt to him—

And faintly through his tears he spake,

“God send his grace to thee,

And for the dear sake of the dead,

Go forth—unscathed and free.”