Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
The Duke’s Exequy
Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833–1908)
  CLOTHED in sable, crowned with gold,
All his wars and councils ended,
  Philip lay, surnamed The Bold:
  Passing-bell his quittance tolled,
And the chant of priests ascended.        5
  Mailéd knights and archers stand,
Thronging in the church of Arras;
  Nevermore at his command
  Shall they scour the Netherland,
Nevermore the outlaws harass;        10
  Naught is left of his array
Save a barren territory;
  Forty years of generous sway
  Sped his princely hordes away,
Bartered all his gold for glory.        15
  Forth steps Flemish Margaret then,
Striding toward the silent ashes;
  And the eyes of arméd men
  Fill with startled wonder, when
On the bier her girdle clashes!        20
  Swift she drew it from her waist,
And the purse and keys it carried
  On the ducal coffin placed;
  Then with proud demeanor faced
Sword and shield of him she married.        25
  “No incumbrance of the dead
Must the living clog forever;
  From thy debts and dues,” she said,
  “From the liens of thy bed,
We this day our line dissever.        30
  “From thy hand we gain release,
Know all present by this token!
  Let the dead repose in peace,
  Let the claims upon us cease,
When the ties that bound are broken.        35
  “Philip, we have loved thee long,
But, in years of future splendor,
  Burgundy shall count among
  Bravest deeds of tale and song
This, our widowhood’s surrender.”        40
  Back the stately duchess turned,
While the priests and friars chanted,
  And the swinging incense burned:
  Thus by feudal rite was earned
Greatness for a race undaunted.        45

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.