G. K. CHESTERTON 15
Great wine like blood from Burgundy,
Cloaks like the clouds from Tyre,
And marble like solid moonlight,
And gold like frozen fire.
Smells that a man might swill in a cup,
Stones that a man might eat,
And the great smooth women like ivory
That the Turks sell in the street.
He sang the song of the thief of the world
And the gods that love the thief,
And he yelled aloud at the cloister-yards
Where men go gathering grief.
But Elf, the old blind minstrel, takes the harp from him and
sings his sadder song :
A boy must needs like bellowing
But the old ears of a careful king
Are gkd of songs less rough...
There is always a thing forgotten
When all the world goes well;
A thing forgotten, as long ago
When the gods forgot the mistletoe
And soundless as an arrow of snow
The arrow of anguish fell.
The thing on the blind side of the heart,
On the wrong side of the door,
The green plant groweth, menacing
Almighty lovers in the spring ;
There is always a forgotten thing
And love is not secure.
But it is from Guthrum, the great King himself, that there
comes the most awful confession of nihilistic despair :
But the hour shall come after his youth
When a man shall know not tales but truth
And his heart shall fail thereat.