James Elroy Flecker

War Song of the Saracens

We are they who come faster than fate: we are they who ride early or late:
We storm at your ivory gate: Pale Kings of the Sunset, beware!
Not on silk nor in samet we lie, not in curtained solemnity die
Among women who chatter and cry, and children who mumble a prayer.
But we sleep by the ropes of the camp, and we rise with a shout, and we tramp
With the sun or the moon for a lamp, and the spray of the wind in our hair.

From the lands, where the elephants are, to the forts of Merou and Balghar,
Our steel we have brought and our star to shine on the ruins of Rum.
We have marched from the Indus to Spain, and by God we will go there again;
We have stood on the shore of the plain where the Waters of Destiny boom.

A mart of destruction we made at Jalula where men were afraid,
For death was a difficult trade, and the sword was a broker of doom;
And the Spear was a Desert Physician who cured not a few of ambition,
And drave not a few to perdition with medicine bitter and strong:
And the shield was a grief to the fool and as bright as a desolate pool,
And as straight as the rock of Stamboul when their cavalry thundered along:
For the coward was drowned with the brave when our battle sheered up like a wave,
And the dead to the desert we gave, and the glory to God in our song.

About the poet
James Elroy Flecker
By the same poet
To a Poet a thousand years hence
The Town without a Market
The Ballad of Camden Town
Felo de se
Tenebris Interlucentem
Invitation to a young but learned friend...
Ballad of the Londoner
The First Sonnet of Bathrolaire
The Second Sonnet of Bathrolaire
The Masque of the Magi
The Ballad of Hampstead Heath
Litany to Satan
The Translator and the Children
Destroyer of Ships, Men, Cities
Joseph and Mary
No Coward's Song
A Western Voyage
The Welsh Sea
Oxford Canal
Hialmar speaks to the Raven
The Ballad of the Student in the South
The Queen's song
Lord Arnaldos
We that were friends
My Friend
Mary Magdalen
I rose from dreamless hours
A Miracle of Bethlehem
Gravis Dulcis Immutabilis
The Ballad of Zacho
Pavlovna in London
The Sentimentalist
Don Juan in Hell
The Ballad of Iskander
Related books
James Elroy Flecker at amazon.co.uk

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