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Under such circumstances even a brave man might have seen a pitfall at every step, a dagger in every hand, and poison in every cup. On the contrary, he was ever cheerful, and hardly took more precaution than usual. “God in His mercy,' said he with unaffected simplicity, 'will maintain my innocence and my honour during my life and in future ages. As to my fortune and my life, I have dedicated both, long since, to His ervice. He will do therewith what pleases Him for His glory and my salvation.' Thus his suspicions were not even excited by the ominous face of Gérard, when he first presented himself at the dining-room door. The Prince laughed off his wife's prophetic apprehension at the sight of his murderer, and was as cheerful as usual to the last.

He possessed, too, that which to the heathen philosopher seemed the greatest good—the sound mind in the sound body. His physical frame was after death found so perfect that a long life might have been in store for him, notwithstanding all which he had endured. The desperate illness of 1574, the frightful gunshot wound inflicted by Jaureguy in 1582, had left no traces. The physicians pronounced that his body presented an aspect of perfect health.

His temperament was cheerful. At table, the pleasures of which, in moderation, were his only relaxation, he was always animated and merry; and this jocoseness was partly natural, partly intentional.

In the darkest hours of his country's trial, he affected a serenity which he was far from feeling; so that his apparent gaiety at momentous epochs was even censured by dullards, who could not comprehend its philosophy, nor applaud the flippancy of William the Silent.

He went through life bearing the load of a people's sorrows upon his shoulders with a smiling face. Their name was the last upon his lips, save the simple affirmative, with which the soldier who had been battling for the right all his lifetime, commended his soul in dying “to his great Captain, Christ.' The people were grateful and affectionate, for they trusted the character of their ‘Father William,' and not all the clouds which calumny could collect ever dimmed to their eyes the radiance of that lofty mind to which they were accustomed, in their darkest calamities, to look for light. As long as he lived, he was the guiding-star of a whole brave nation, and when he died the little children cried in the streets.



In the market-place of Bruges stands the belfry old and

brown; Thrice consumed and thrice rebuilded, still it watches

o'er the town.

As the summer morn was breaking, on that lofty tower

I stood, And the world threw off the darkness, like the weeds of


Thick with towns and hamlets studded, and with streams

and vapours grey, Like a shield embossed with silver, round and vast the

landscape lay.

At my feet the city slumbered. From its chimneys, here

and there, Wreaths of snow-white smoke, ascending, vanished, ghost

like, into air.

Not a sound rose from the city at that early morning hour, But I heard a heart of iron beating in the ancient tower.

From their nests beneath the rafters sang the swallows

wild and high ; And the rld, beneath me sleeping, seemed distant

than the sky.


Then, most musical and, solemn, bringing back the olden

times, With their strange, unearthly changes, rang the melan

choly chimes,

Like the psalms from some old cloister, when the nuns

sing in the choir ; And the great bell tolled among them, like the chanting

of a friar.

Visions of the days departed, shadowy phantoms filled my

brain ; They who live in history only seemed to walk the earth

again ;

All the Foresters of Flanders,-mighty Baldwin Bras de

Lyderick du Bucq and Cressy, Philip, Guy de Dampierre.

I beheld the pageants splendid, that adorned those days

of old ; Stately dames, like queens attended, knights who bore

the Fleece of Gold ;

Lombard and Venetian merchants with deep-laden argosies ; Ministers from twenty nations ; more than royal pomp

and ease.

I beheld proud Maximilian, kneeling humbly on the ground; I beheld the gentle Mary, hunting with her hawk and


And her lighted bridal-chamber, where a duke slept with

the queen,

And the armed guard around them, and the sword

unsheathed between.


I beheld the Flemish weavers, with Namur and Juliers

bold, Marching homeward from the bloody battle of the Spurs

of Gold ;

Saw the fight at Minnewater, saw the White Hoods

moving west, Saw great Artevelde victorious scale the Golden Dragon's


And again the whiskered Spaniard all the land with terror

smote ; And again the wild alarum sounded from the tocsin's throat;

Till the bell of Ghent responded, o'er lagoon and dyke of

sand, 'I am Roland ! I am Roland ! there is victory in the land.'

Then the sound of drums aroused me.

The awakened city's


Chased the phantoms I had summoned back into their

graves once more.

Hours had passed away like minutes ; and, before I was

aware, Lo! the shadow of the belfry crossed the sun-illumined square.




Vast preparations were now being made by the Spaniards for the invasion of England, and for the entire conquest of that kingdom. Philip, though he had not yet declared war on account of the hostilities which Elizabeth everywhere

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