The Crusade

Thomas Warton

BOUND for holy Palestine,

Nimbly we brushed the level brine,

All in azure steel arrayed;

O’er the wave our weapons played,

And made the dancing billows glow;

High upon the trophied prow,

Many a warrior-minstrel swung

His sounding harp, and boldly sung:

  “Syrian virgins, wail and weep,

English Richard ploughs the deep!

Tremble, watchmen, as ye spy

From distant towers, with anxious eye,

The radiant range of shield and lance

Down Damascus’ hills advance;

From Sion’s turrets, as afar

Ye ken the march of Europe’s war!

Saladin, thou paynim king,

From Albion’s isle revenge we bring!

On Acon’s spiry citadel,

Though to the gale thy banners swell,

Pictured with the silver moon,

England shall end thy glory soon!

In vain to break our firm array,

Thy brazen drums hoarse discord bray:

Those sounds our rising fury fan:

English Richard in the van,

On to victory we go,—

A vaunting infidel the foe!”

  Blondel led the tuneful band,

And swept the lyre with glowing hand.

Cyprus, from her rocky mound,

And Crete, with piny verdure crowned,

Far along the smiling main

Echoed the prophetic strain.

  Soon we kissed the sacred earth

That gave a murdered Saviour birth!

Then with ardor fresh endued,

Thus the solemn song renewed:

  “Lo, the toilsome voyage past,

Heaven’s favored hills appear at last!

Object of our holy vow,

We tread the Tyrian valleys now.

From Carmel’s almond-shaded steep

We feel the cheering fragrance creep:

O’er Engaddi’s shrubs of balm

Waves the date-empurpled palm;

See Lebanon’s aspiring head

Wide his immortal umbrage spread!

Hail Calvary, thou mountain hoar,

Wet with our Redeemer’s gore!

Ye, trampled tombs, ye fanes forlorn,

Ye stones, by tears of pilgrims worn;

Your ravished honors to restore,

Fearless we climb this hostile shore!

And, thou, the sepulchre of God,

By mocking pagans rudely trod,

Bereft of every awful rite,

And quenched thy lamps that beamed so bright:

For thee, from Britain’s distant coast,

Lo, Richard leads his faithful host!

Aloft in his heroic hand,

Blazing like the beacon’s brand,

O’er the far-affrighted fields,

Resistless Kaliburn he wields.

Proud Saracen, pollute no more

The shrines by martyrs built of yore!

From each wild mountain’s trackless crown

In vain thy gloomy castles frown:

Thy battering-engines, huge and high,

In vain our steel-clad steeds defy;

And, rolling in terrific state,

On giant wheels harsh thunders grate.

When eve has hushed the buzzing camp,

Amid the moonlight vapors damp,

Thy necromantic forms, in vain,

Haunt us on the tented plain:

We bid those spectre-shapes avaunt,

Ashtaroth and Termagaunt!

With many a demon, pale of hue,

Doomed to drink the bitter dew

That drops from Macon’s sooty tree,

Mid the dread grove of ebony.

Nor magic charms nor fiends of hell

The Christian’s holy courage quell.

  “Salem, in ancient majesty

Arise, and lift thee to the sky!

Soon on the battlements divine

Shall wave the badge of Constantine.

Ye barons to the sun unfold

Our cross, with crimson wove and gold!”

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