Гилберт Кит Честертон
The Ballad of the White Horse


O go you onward; where you are
Shall honour and laughter be,
Past purpled forest and pearled foam,
God's winged pavilion free to roam,
Your face, that is a wandering home,
A flying home for me.

Ride through the silent earthquake lands,
Wide as a waste is wide,
Across these days like deserts, when
Pride and a little scratching pen
Have dried and split the hearts of men,
Heart of the heroes, ride.

Up through an empty house of stars,
Being what heart you are,
Up the inhuman steeps of space
As on a staircase go in grace,
Carrying the firelight on your face
Beyond the loneliest star.

Take these; in memory of the hour
We strayed a space from home
And saw the smoke-hued hamlets, quaint
With Westland king and Westland saint,
And watched the western glory faint
Along the road to Frome.

BOOK I. THE VISION OF THE KING

Before the gods that made the gods
Had seen their sunrise pass,
The White Horse of the White Horse Vale
Was cut out of the grass.

Before the gods that made the gods
Had drunk at dawn their fill,
The White Horse of the White Horse Vale
Was hoary on the hill.

Age beyond age on British land,
Aeons on aeons gone,
Was peace and war in western hills,
And the White Horse looked on.

For the White Horse knew England
When there was none to know;
He saw the first oar break or bend,
He saw heaven fall and the world end,
O God, how long ago.

For the end of the world was long ago,
And all we dwell to-day
As children of some second birth,
Like a strange people left on earth
After a judgment day.

For the end of the world was long ago,
When the ends of the world waxed free,
When Rome was sunk in a waste of slaves,
And the sun drowned in the sea.
When Caesar's sun fell out of the sky

And whoso hearkened right
Could only hear the plunging
Of the nations in the night.
When the ends of the earth came marching in
To torch and cresset gleam.

And the roads of the world that lead to Rome
Were filled with faces that moved like foam,
Like faces in a dream.
And men rode out of the eastern lands,
Broad river and burning plain;

Trees that are Titan flowers to see,
And tiger skies, striped horribly,
With tints of tropic rain.
Where Ind's enamelled peaks arise
Around that inmost one,

Where ancient eagles on its brink,
Vast as archangels, gather and drink
The sacrament of the sun.
And men brake out of the northern lands,
Enormous lands alone,

Where a spell is laid upon life and lust
And the rain is changed to a silver dust
And the sea to a great green stone.
And a Shape that moveth murkily
In mirrors of ice and night,

Hath blanched with fear all beasts and birds,
As death and a shock of evil words
Blast a man's hair with white.
And the cry of the palms and the purple moons,
Or the cry of the frost and foam,

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