To Clare

A poem by Henry Newbolt


My Clare,--
These tales were told, you know,
In French, five hundred years ago,
By old Sir John, whose heart's delight
Was lady sweet and valiant knight.
A hundred years went by, and then
A great lord told the tales again,
When bluff King Hal desired his folk
To read them in the tongue they spoke.
Last, I myself among them took
What I loved best and made this book.
Great, lesser, less--these writers three
Worked for the days they could not see,
And certes, in their work they knew
Nothing at all, dear child, of you.
Yet is this book your own in truth,
Because 'tis made for noble youth,
And every word that's living there
Must die when Clares are no more Clare.

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