To The Reader

A poem by Richard Le Gallienne

Art was a palace once, things great and fair,
And strong and holy, found a temple there:
Now 'tis a lazar-house of leprous men.
O shall me hear an English song again!
Still English larks mount in the merry morn,
An English May still brings an English thorn,
Still English daisies up and down the grass,
Still English love for English lad and lass -
Yet youngsters blush to sing an English song!

Thou nightingale that for six hundred years
Sang to the world - O art thou husht at last!
For, not of thee this new voice in our ears,
Music of France that once was of the spheres;
And not of thee these strange green flowers that spring
From daisy roots and seemed to bear a sting.

Thou Helicon of numbers 'undefiled,'
Forgive that 'neath the shadow of thy name,
England, I bring a song of little fame;
Not as one worthy but as loving thee,
Not as a singer, only as a child.

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