By Miss Jane Williams.
(See p. 219).
In early spring, one Sabbath morn,
Palm Sunday called by fame, Two bannered hosts, at early dawn,
In rival glory came.
Never till then on English ground,
Such numerous hosts had stood, Led by so many chiefs renowned,
Arrayed for mortal feud.
The cause of rival kings to try,
By force of sword and shield, Came England's strength and chivalry,
That day to Towton field.
Masked in their sallets, mad with ire,
Brothers on brethren drew, And many a son laid low his sire,
And sire his offspring slew.
Fierce Clifford, proud Northumberland,
And valiant Dacres stood, Each with his pole-axe of command,
Imbrued in Yorkist blood.
These desperate leaders, one by one,
'Mid heaps of followers slain, Gave place to York's emblazoned sun,
On that Pharsalian plain.
The wind, the snow, for Warwick wrought,
In sleet his arrows flew, Through the long day the armies fought,
Then Henry's host withdrew.
To earth, death wrested then from hate,
Cross-bows and axes fell, Rich belts and ornamented plate,
And graceful casquetel.
And heaped in many a lofty mound,
By pitying victors then, That battle-field gave burial ground,
To forty thousand men;
And on those mounds the Roses twain,
Of civil strife, were set, To mark the parties of the slain,
With symbols of regret.
Almost four centuries have fled,
Since that disastrous day, Each proud Plantagenet is dead,
Their race has passed away.
Scarce can the characters be read Which edge Lord Dacre's tomb,
Yet still the roses, White and Red, On Towton's ridges bloom.
And thence a wandering Cymo's hand,
These tiny cuttings sent, Which may, perchance, yet live to stand,
Their poet's monument!
In the "Memoirs Illustrative of the History and Antiquities of the County and City of York July, 1846, published by the Archaeological Institute, will be found an interesting paper on this subject written by the Rev. G. F. Tounsend, Vicar of Brantingbam. Part I., pp. 12 - 17, Mr. Tounsend says, "It is reported that the soldiers were buried in one large mound on the field of battle, and that the Yorkists either in affection or in triumph, planted some rose-trees on the tombs of their countrymen. These mounds, through the lapse of four centuries, have worn nearly down to the level surface of the soil, but you may see a kind of circles in the field above the quarry which I have mentioned, and these circles are covered with patches and clusters of rose-trees. The rose is white, and now and then on the appearance of a pink spot on the flower, the rustic, happy in his legendary lore, traces the blood of Lancaster,"