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A SONG OF SWORDS "A drove of cattle came into a village called Swords; and was stopped by the rioters."—Daily Paper. In the place called Swords on the Irish roadIt is told for a new renownHow we held the horns of the cattle, and howWe will hold the horns of the devils nowEre the lord of hell with the horn on his browIs crowned in Dublin town. Light in the East and light in the West,And light on the cruel lords,On the souls that suddenly... more...

I. Tremendous Trifles Once upon a time there were two little boys who lived chiefly in the front garden, because their villa was a model one. The front garden was about the same size as the dinner table; it consisted of four strips of gravel, a square of turf with some mysterious pieces of cork standing up in the middle and one flower bed with a row of red daisies. One morning while they were at play in these romantic grounds, a passing... more...

INTRODUCTION A section of a long and splendid literature can be most conveniently treated in one of two ways. It can be divided as one cuts a currant cake or a Gruyère cheese, taking the currants (or the holes) as they come. Or it can be divided as one cuts wood—along the grain: if one thinks that there is a grain. But the two are never the same: the names never come in the same order in actual time as they come in any serious study... more...

CHAPTER I. THE TWO POETS OF SAFFRON PARK THE suburb of Saffron Park lay on the sunset side of London, as red and ragged as a cloud of sunset. It was built of a bright brick throughout; its sky-line was fantastic, and even its ground plan was wild. It had been the outburst of a speculative builder, faintly tinged with art, who called its architecture sometimes Elizabethan and sometimes Queen Anne, apparently under the impression that the two... more...

Chapter 1. The Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown Rabelais, or his wild illustrator Gustave Dore, must have had something to do with the designing of the things called flats in England and America. There is something entirely Gargantuan in the idea of economising space by piling houses on top of each other, front doors and all. And in the chaos and complexity of those perpendicular streets anything may dwell or happen, and it is in one of... more...


BOOK I. THE VISION OF THE KING Before the gods that made the godsHad seen their sunrise pass,The White Horse of the White Horse ValeWas cut out of the grass.Before the gods that made the godsHad drunk at dawn their fill,The White Horse of the White Horse ValeWas hoary on the hill.Age beyond age on British land,Aeons on aeons gone,Was peace and war in western hills,And the White Horse looked on.For the White Horse knew EnglandWhen there was none... more...

CHAPTER I.—Introduction in Defence of Everything Else The only possible excuse for this book is that it is an answer to a challenge. Even a bad shot is dignified when he accepts a duel. When some time ago I published a series of hasty but sincere papers, under the name of "Heretics," several critics for whose intellect I have a warm respect (I may mention specially Mr. G.S. Street) said that it was all very well for me to tell everybody... more...

I INTRODUCTION IN DEFENCE OF EVERYTHING ELSE THE only possible excuse for this book is that it is an answer to a challenge. Even a bad shot is dignified when he accepts a duel. When some time ago I published a series of hasty but sincere papers, under the name of "Heretics," several critics for whose intellect I have a warm respect (I may mention specially Mr. G.S.Street) said that it was all very well for me to tell everybody to affirm his... more...

A DEDICATION TO E.C.B. He was, through boyhood's storm and shower, My best, my nearest friend; We wore one hat, smoked one cigar, One standing at each end. We were two hearts with single hope, Two faces in one hood; I knew the secrets of his youth; I watched his every mood. The little things that none but I Saw were beyond his wont, The streaming hair, the tie behind, The coat tails worn in front. I marked the... more...

I Once upon a time there lived upon an island a merry and innocent people, mostly shepherds and tillers of the earth. They were republicans, like all primitive and simple souls; they talked over their affairs under a tree, and the nearest approach they had to a personal ruler was a sort of priest or white witch who said their prayers for them. They worshipped the sun, not idolatrously, but as the golden crown of the god whom all such infants see... more...