Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

Wales: Bangor


By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

(From Madoc)

THEN Madoc took

His host aside, and in his private ear

Told him the purport, and wherein his help

Was needed. Night came on; the hearth was heapt,

The women went to rest. They twain, the while,

Sate at the board, and while the untasted bowl

Stood by them, watched the glass whose falling sands

Told out the weary hours. The hour is come;

Prince Madoc helmed his head, and from his neck

He slung the bugle-horn; they took their shields,

And lance in hand went forth. And now arrived,

The bolts give back before them, and the door

Rolls on its heavy hinge.
Beside the grave

Stood Baldwin and the Prior, who, albeit

Cambrian himself, in fear and awe obeyed

The lordly Primate’s will. They stood and watched

Their ministers perform the irreverent work.

And now with spade and mattock have they broken

Into the house of death, and now have they

From the stone coffin wrenched the iron cramps,

When sudden interruption startled them,

And, clad in complete mail from head to foot,

They saw the Prince come in. Their tapers gleamed

Upon his visage, as he wore his helm

Open; and when in that pale countenance—

For the strong feeling blanched his cheek—they saw

His father’s living lineaments, a fear

Like ague shook them. But anon that fit

Of scared imagination to the sense

Of other peril yielded, when they heard

Prince Madoc’s dreadful voice. “Stay!” he exclaimed,

As now they would have fled; “stir not a man,

Or if I once put breath into this horn,

All Wales will hear, as if dead Owen called

For vengeance from that grave. Stir not a man,

Or not a man shall live! The doors are watched,

And ye are at my mercy!”
But at that,

Baldwin from the altar seized the crucifix,

And held it forth to Madoc, and cried out,

“He who strikes me strikes Him; forbear, on pain

Of endless—”
“Peace!” quoth Madoc, “and profane not

The holy cross with those polluted hands

Of midnight sacrilege! Peace! I harm thee not;

Be wise, and thou art safe. For thee, thou know’st,

Prior, that if thy treason were divulged,

David would hang thee on thy steeple-top,

To feed the steeple daws: obey and live!

Go, bring fine linen and a coffer meet

To bear these relics; and do ye, meanwhile,

Proceed upon your work.”
They at his word

Raised the stone cover, and displayed the dead,

In royal grave-clothes habited, his arms

Crossed on the breast, with precious gums and spice

Fragrant, and incorruptibly preserved.

At Madoc’s bidding, round the corpse they wrap

The linen web, fold within fold involved;

They laid it in the coffer, and with cloth

At head and foot filled every interval

And prest it down compact; they closed the lid,

And Madoc with his signet sealed it thrice.

Then said he to his host, “Bear thou at dawn

This treasure to the ships. My father’s bones

Shall have their resting-place where mine one day

May moulder by their side.”