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The Tournament. An Interlude

Thomas Chatterton 1752 (Bristol) – 1770 (Holborn)

THE Tournament begynnes; the hammerrs sounde;
The courserrs lysse about the mensuredd fielde;
The shemrynge armoure throws the sheene arounde;
Quayntyssed fons depictedd onn eche sheelde.
The feerie heaulmets, wythe the wreathes amielde ,
Supportes the rampynge lyoncell orr bear;
Wythe straunge depyctures , Nature maie nott yeelde,
Unseemelie to all orderr doe appere,
Yett yatte
Makes knowen thatt the phantasies unryghte.
of her joies,
Muste swythen goe to yeve the speeres around;
Wythe advantayle & borne I meynte emploie,
Who withoute mee woulde fall untoe the grounde.
Soe the tall oake the ivie twysteth rounde;
Soe the neshe flowerr grees ynne the woodeland shade.
The woride bie diffraunce ys ynne orderr founde;
Wydhoute unlikenesse nothynge could bee made.
As ynn the bowke nete alleyn cann bee donne,
Syke ynn the weal of kynde all thynges are partes of onne.

Herawde , bie heavenne these tylterrs staie too long.
Mie phantasie ys dyinge forr the fyghte.
The mynstrelles have begonne the thyrde warr songe,
Yett notte a speere of hemm hath grete mie syghte.
I feere there be ne manne wordhie mie myghte.
I lacke a Guid , a Wyllyamm to entylte.
To reine anente a fele embodiedd knyghte,
Ytt getts ne rennome gyff hys blodde bee spylte.
Bie heavenne & Marie ytt ys tyme they're here;
I lyche nott unthylle thus to wielde the speare.
Methynckes I heare yer slugghornes dynn fromm farre.
Ah! swythenn mie shielde & tyltynge launce bee bounde .
Eftsoones beheste mie Squyerr to the warre.

Thie valourous actes woulde meinte of menne astounde;
Harde bee yer shappe encontrynge thee ynn fyghte;
Anenst all menne thou berest to the grounde,
Lyche the hard hayle dothe the tall roshes pyghte .
As whanne the mornynge sonne ydronks the dew,
Syche dothe thie valourous actes drocke eche knyghte's hue.
The barganette ; yee mynstrelles tune the strynge,
Somme actyonn dyre of auntyante kynges now synge.
Wyllyamm, the Normannes floure botte Englondes thorne,
The manne whole myghte delievretie
oppe hys long strunge bowe and sheelide aborne
Behesteynge all hys hommageres to fyghte.
Goe, rouze the lyonn fromm hys hylted denne,
Lett thie floes drenche the blodde of anie thynge bott menne.
Ynn the treed forreste doe the knyghtes appere;
Wyllyamm wythe myghte hys bowe enyronn'd plies
Loude dynns the arrowe yn the wolfynn's eare;
Hee ryseth, battent roares, he panctes, hee dyes.
Forslagenn att thie feete lett wolvynns bee,
Lett thie floes drenche theyre blodde, bott do ne bredrenn slea.
Throwe the merke shade of twistynde trees hee rydes;
The flemed owlett flapps herr eve-speckte wynge;
The lordynge toade ynn all hys passes bides;
The berten neders att hymm darte the stynge;
Styll, slylle, hee passes onn, hys stede astrodde,
Nee hedes the daungerous waie gyff leadynge untoe bloodde.
The lyoncel, fromme sweltrie countries braughte,
Coucheynge binethe the sheltre of the brierr,
Att commyng dynn doth rayse hymselfe distraughte ,
He loketh wythe an eie of flames of fyre.
Goe, sticke the lyonn to hys hyltren denne,
Lette thie floes drenche the blood of anie thynge botte menn.
Wythe passent steppe the lyonn mov'th alonge;
Wyllyamm hys ironne-woven bowe hee bendes,
Wythe myghte alyche the roghlynge thonderr stronge;
The lyonn ynn a roare hys spryte foorthe sendes.
Goe, slea the lyonn yan hys blodde-steyn'd denne,
Botte bee thie takelle drie fromm blodde of odherr menne.
Swefte fromm the thyckett starks the stagge awaie;
The couraciers as swefte doe afterr flie.
Hee lepethe hie, hee stondes, hee kepes att baie,
Botte metes the arrowe, and eftsoones doth die.
Forslagen atte thie fote lette wylde beastes bee,
Lett thie floes drenche yer blodde, yett do ne bredrenn slee.
Wythe murtherr tyredd, hee sleynges hys bowe alyne
The stagge ys ouch'd wythe crownes of lillie flowerrs
Arounde theire heaulmes theie greene verte doe entwyne;
Joying and rev'lous ynn the grene wode bowerrs.
Forslagenn wyth thie floe lette wylde beastes bee,
Feeste thee upponne theire fleshe, doe ne thie bredrenn slee.
Nowe to the Tourneie ; who wylle fyrtse affraie ?
Nevylle, a baronne, bee yatte honnoure thyne.
I clayme the passage.
I contake thie waie.
Thenn there's mie gauntlet
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:38 min read

Thomas Chatterton

Thomas Chatterton was an English poet and forger of pseudo-medieval poetry. He committed suicide, dying of arsenic poisoning. His works and death were much discussed posthumously and had an influence on the Romantic movement. more…

All Thomas Chatterton poems | Thomas Chatterton Books

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