Гилберт Кит Честертон
The Wild Knight and Other Poems


The heavy scent of wine-shops
Floats as I pass them by,
But never a cup I quaff from,
And never a house have I.

Till dropped down forty fathoms,
I lie eternally;
And drink from God's own goblet
The green wine of the sea.

THE TRIUMPH OF MAN

I plod and peer amid mean sounds and shapes,
I hunt for dusty gain and dreary praise,
And slowly pass the dismal grinning days,
Monkeying each other like a line of apes.

What care? There was one hour amid all these
When I had stripped off like a tawdry glove
My starriest hopes and wants, for very love
Of time and desolate eternities.

Yea, for one great hour's triumph, not in me
Nor any hope of mine did I rejoice,
But in a meadow game of girls and boys
Some sunset in the centuries to be.

CYCLOPEAN

A mountainous and mystic brute
No rein can curb, no arrow shoot,
Upon whose domed deformed back
I sweep the planets scorching track.

Old is the elf, and wise, men say,
His hair grows green as ours grows grey;
He mocks the stars with myriad hands.
High as that swinging forest stands.

But though in pigmy wanderings dull
I scour the deserts of his skull,
I never find the face, eyes, teeth.
Lowering or laughing underneath.

I met my foe in an empty dell,
His face in the sun was naked hell.
I thought, 'One silent, bloody blow.
No priest would curse, no crowd would know.'

Then cowered: a daisy, half concealed,
Watched for the fame of that poor field;
And in that flower and suddenly
Earth opened its one eye on me.

JOSEPH

If the stars fell; night's nameless dreams
Of bliss and blasphemy came true,
If skies were green and snow were gold,
And you loved me as I love you;

O long light hands and curled brown hair,
And eyes where sits a naked soul;
Dare I even then draw near and burn
My fingers in the aureole?

Yes, in the one wise foolish hour
God gives this strange strength to a man.
He can demand, though not deserve,
Where ask he cannot, seize he can.

But once the blood's wild wedding o'er,
Were not dread his, half dark desire,
To see the Christ-child in the cot,
The Virgin Mary by the fire?

MODERN ELFLAND

I Cut a staff in a churchyard copse,
I clad myself in ragged things,
I set a feather in my cap
That fell out of an angel's wings.

I filled my wallet with white stones,
I took three foxgloves in my hand,
I slung my shoes across my back,
And so I went to fairyland.

But Lo, within that ancient place
Science had reared her iron crown,
And the great cloud of steam went up
That telleth where she takes a town.

But cowled with smoke and starred with lamps
That strange land's light was still its own;
The word that witched the woods and hills
Spoke in the iron and the stone.

Not Nature's hand had ever curved
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