Queen Summeror the Tourneyof the Lily & the Rosepenned & portrayedby Walter Crane
Cassell & Co: Ld: London: Paris: & Melbourne
When Summer on the earth was queenShe held her court in gardens greenFair hung with tapestry of leaves,Where threads of gold the sun enweavesWith checquered patterns on the floorOf velvet lawns the scythe smoothes o’er:Their waving fans the soft winds spreadEach way to cool Queen Summer’s head:The woodland dove made music soft,And Eros touched his lute full oft.
Round Time’s dial thronged the hours,Masking in the Masque of Flowers
Like knights and ladies fair be-dightIn silk attire, both red and white.
And as the winds about them played,And shook the flowers or disarrayed,
A whispered word among them goesOf how the Lily flouts the Rose,
Suitors for Summer’s favor dear,To win the crown of all the year—And how each champion brave would fight,Queen Summer to decide the right.
Then shrill the wind-winged heralds blew;The lists were set in Summer’s view,
With blazoned shields, & pennons spruceOf fluttering flag & fleur-de-luce:
And spread with ’broidered hangings gay,Till all was ready for the fray.
Between their banners white and red,Of Rose and Lily overhead,Queen Summer took her judgment seat,Whom all the crowd of flowers did greet.
The silver arum-trumpet’s soundWith tongues of gold, & to the groundThe shining champions each did ride,Their party-colours flaunting wide.
Came first the glowing Rose in view,With crimson pennon fluttering new;With glittering spines all armed he came,With lance and shield—a rose aflame;With tossing crest and mantling free,On fiery steed,—a sight to see!
Nor long the Lily knight delayed;In silver armour white arrayed,He flashed like light upon the scene,A lamp amid the garden green.Milk-white his horse, & housings fairWith silver lilies shining there.
The summer winds the onset blew:With level lance each champion flew,
And clashed together, mid a snowOf petals on the grass below.
Pressed eager then the gazing rows:Some cried, “the Lily”, some, “the Rose”But while the fate of battle hung,Again the silver trumpets sung;
And, sudden charging from each side,Of Roses and of Lilies rideA host to still maintain the strifeFor roses or for lilies’ life
Rose favoured knights of maidens true,Their pennons blushing with each hueOf Rose-craft, since from wild thorn frailTheir order grew—through dark & paleOf maiden-bloom to damask deep,Or Gloire-de-Dijon that doth keepEnfolded fire within his breast,Still golden hearted like the rest.
Like a cloud of morn they bore,Or rosy wave on grassy shore,That, breaking, dashed the silver sprayThay met—the Lily-lances play;In crested legends on that cameAgainst them—snow & burning flameMixing with the crimson floodOf roses & their fragrant blood,
Whereof the grass undue was rife,As surged & rolled the floral strife,With checquered fortune o’er the green,Until at last up-rose the Queen:
And caused the zephyr horns to blowA truce, the victor’s crown to show....