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By Chesterton, Gilbert K.

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Book Id: WPLBN0000577645
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 147,502 KB.
Reproduction Date: 2007
Full Text

Title: Lepanto  
Author: Chesterton, Gilbert K.
Language: English
Subject: Fiction, Poetry, Verse drama
Collections: Poetry Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: World Public Library Association


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Chesterton, G. K. (n.d.). Lepanto. Retrieved from


Excerpt: WHITE founts falling in the courts of the sun, // And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run; // There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared, // It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard, // It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips, // For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships. // They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy, // They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea, // And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss, // And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross, // The cold queen of England is looking in the glass; // The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass; // From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun, // And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun. // Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard, // Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred, // Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall, // The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall, // The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung, // That once went singing southward when all the world was young, // In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid, // Comes up along the winding road the noise of the Crusade. // Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far, // Don John of Austria is going to the war, // Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold // In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold. // Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums, // Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes. // Don John laughing in the brave beard curled, // Spurning of his stirrups like the throne of all the world, // Holding his head up for a flag of all the free. // Love-light of Spain - hurrah! // Death-light of Africa! // Don John of Austria // Is riding to the sea. // Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star, // (Don John of Austria is going to the war.) // He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees, // His turban that is woven of the sunset and the seas. // He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease, // And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees, // And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring // Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing. // Giants and the Genii, // Multiple of wing and eye, // Whose strong obedience broke the sky // When Solomon was king. // They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn, // From temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn; // They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea // Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be; // On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl, // Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl; // They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,- // They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound. // And he saith, `Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide, // And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide, // And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest, // For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west. // We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun, // Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done, // But noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know // The voice that shook our palaces - four hundred years ago: // It is he that saith not `Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate; // It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate! // It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth, // Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth.' // For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar, // (Don John of Austria is going to the war.) // Sudden and still - hurrah! // Bolt from Iberia! // Don John of Austria // Is gone by Alcalar. // St Michael's on his mountain in the sea-roads of the north // (Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.) // Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift // And the sea folk labour and the red sails lift. // He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone; // The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone; // The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes // And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise, // And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room // And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom, // And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee, // But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea. // Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse // Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips...


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