Friday, April 23, 2010

Harow! Harow! St. George for Merry England!

The world, it is a wilding world,
a world of sin and shame;
it speaks and moans a sighing word
and hides its very name.
The dragons, they rise on every side,
they speak with the voice of flame;
but still there rides a knight to fight,
and counter the dragons' claim.

And all of the peasants are ground into dust
and they walk on a rocky way,
and all of the princes have forfeited trust
and flee from the rightful fray,
but a heavenly knight on a steed of white
with a cross upon his shield
will succor and save the countryside,
will fight, and will not yield.

The cowards all cower in dust and in mud
as the serpents devour the land;
abandoning hope they abandon the good
and leave it to dragon's demand.
But the knight, he will fight, and when he falls
he will rise and, rising, will stand;
his weary face will pale and will pall
but his sword is in his hand.

All people who hear, sing the song of the knight,
sing the song of the man who will live;
with the sound of the drum and the harp and the pipe
high hallels and rhapsodies give.
Through moor and through forest, through fallowing field
he will fight for our honor and grace,
he will fight and will never the victory yield
and our God shines out in his face.

And the waters of life will succor him well
and raise him from the dead
and the tree of life delivers from hell
by the power of God who bled;
and the dragon will fall, and its eye will grow dim,
by the blade that the holy hand led.
To the dust will his heel, will his countenace grim,
crush the skull of the serpent's head.

It is, of course, St. George's Day; wish the English well and remind oneself a bit of St. George, Victory-Bearer and Great-Martyr and slayer of the wyrm.

3 comments:

  1. soandso10:28 PM

    Long live St George of Merrie England, Emporer of Morocco, King of Egypt and Sultan of Persia!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Trace Gordin8:05 PM

    Beautiful piece of literature. However, might someone elucidate upon precisely what the exclamation "Harow!" means? I recently encountered it and a military cheer to St. George for "Merrie old England" in an Arthur Machen story entitled "The Bowmen".

    ReplyDelete
  3. branemrys9:34 PM

    It's just an interjection -- in general it's a cry of alarm, and so often indicates fear, but in cases like this it's not an expression of fear but a defiant shout for assistance in order to rally everyone.

    ReplyDelete

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