The Englishman and Other Poems Part 10

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The Englishman and Other Poems is a Webnovel created by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

The Wind and the Trees fell to talking together; And nothing they said was didactic or terse; But everything spoken was told in unbroken And beautiful rhyming and rhythmical verse.

So rhythm I hail it, though critics a.s.sail it, And hold melting rhymes as an insult to art, For oh! the sweet swing of it, oh! the dear ring of it, Oh! the strong pulse of it, right from the heart, Art or no art.

ALL IN A COACH AND FOUR

The quality folk went riding by, All in a coach and four, And pretty Annette, in a calico gown (Bringing her marketing things from town), Stopped short with her Sunday store, And wondered if ever it should betide That she in a long plumed hat would ride Away in a coach and four.

A lord there was, oh a lonely soul, There in the coach and four.

His years were young but his heart was old, And he hated his coaches and hated his gold (Those things which we all adore).

And he thought how sweet it would be to trudge Along with the fair little country drudge, And away from his coach and four.

So back he rode the very next day All in his coach and four, And he went each day whether dry or wet, Until he married the sweet Annette (In spite of her lack of lore).

But they didn’t trudge off on foot together, For he bought her a hat with a long, long feather, And they rode in the coach and four.

Now a thing like this could happen we know, All in a coach and four; But the fact of it is, ‘twixt me and you, There isn’t a word of the story true (Pardon I do implore).

It is only a foolish and fanciful song That came to me as I rode along, All in a coach and four.

SONGS OF A COUNTRY HOME

I

Who has not felt his heart leap up, and glow What time the Tulips first begin to blow, Has one sweet joy still left for him to know.

It is like early love’s imagining, That fragile pleasure which the Tulips bring, When suddenly we see them, in the Spring.

Not all the garden’s later royal train, Not great triumphant Roses, when they reign, Can bring that delicate delight again.

II

One of the sweetest hours is this; (Of all I think we like it best); A little restful oasis, Between the breakfast and the post.

Just south of coffee and of toast, Just north of daily task and duty; Just west of dreams, this island gleams, A fertile spot of peace and beauty.

We wander out across the lawn; We idle by a bush in bloom; The household pets come following on; Or if the day is one of gloom, We loiter in a pleasant room, Or from a cas.e.m.e.nt lean and chatter.

Then comes the mail, like sudden hail, And off we scatter.

III

When Roses die, in languid August days, We leave the garden to its fallen ways, And seek the shelter of wide porticoes, Where Honeysuckle in defiance blows Undaunted by the sun’s too ardent rays.

The matron Summer turns a wistful gaze Across green valleys, back to tender Mays; And something of her large contentment goes, When Roses die; Yet all her subtle fascination stays To lure us into idle, sweet delays.

The lowered awning by the hammock shows Inviting nooks for dreaming and repose; Oh, restful are the pleasures of those days When Roses die.

IV

The summer folk, fled back to town; The green woods changed to red and brown; A sound upon the frosty air Of windows closing everywhere.

And then the log, lapped by a blaze – Oh! what is better than these days; With books and friends and love a-near; Go on, gay world, but leave me here.

WORTHY THE NAME OF ‘SIR KNIGHT’

Sir Knight of the world’s oldest order, Sir Knight of the Army of G.o.d, You have crossed the strange mystical border, The ground-floor of truth you have trod; You stand on the typical threshold Which leads to the temple above; Where you come as a stone, and a Christ-chosen one, In the Kingdom of Friendship and Love.

As you stand in this new realm of beauty, Where each man you meet is your friend, Think not that your promise of duty In hall, or asylum, shall end.

Outside, in the great world of pleasure.

Beyond in the clamour of trade, In the battle of life and its coa.r.s.e daily strife, Remember the vows you have made.

Your service, majestic and solemn, Your symbols, suggestive and sweet, Your uniform phalanx in column On gala-days marching the street; Your sword and your plume and your helmet, Your ‘secrets’ hid from the world’s sight; These things are the small, lesser parts of the all Which are needed to form the true Knight.

The martyrs who perished rejoicing, In Templary’s glorious laws, Who died ‘midst the f.a.ggots while voicing The glory and worth of their cause – They honoured the t.i.tle of ‘Templar’

No more than the Knight of to-day, Who mars not the name with one blemish of shame, But carries it clean through life’s fray.

To live for a cause; to endeavour To make your deeds grace it; to try And uphold its precepts for ever, Is harder by far than to die.

For the battle of life is unending, The enemy, Self, never tires, And the true Knight must slay that sly foe every day, Ere he reaches the heights he desires.

Sir Knight, have you pondered the meaning Of all you have heard and been told?

Have you strengthened your heart for its weaning From vices and faults loved of old?

Will you honour, in hours of temptation, Your promises n.o.ble and grand?

Will your spirit be strong to do battle with wrong, ‘And, having done all, to stand’?

Will you ever be true to a brother In actions as well as in creed?

Will you stand by his side as no other Could stand, in the hour of his need?

Will you boldly defend him from peril, And lift from him poverty’s curse – Will the promise of old, which you willingly made, Reach down from your lips to your purse?

The world’s battle-field is before you: Let Wisdom walk close by your side, Let Faith spread her snowy wings o’er you, Let Truth be your comrade and guide; Let Fort.i.tude, Justice, and Mercy Direct all your conduct aright, And let each word and act tell to men the proud fact, You are worthy the name of ‘Sir Knight.’

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