Home  »  A Library of American Literature  »  Knight Falstaff

Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Knight Falstaff

By Louise Imogen Guiney (1861–1920)

[Born in Boston, Mass., 1861. Died in Gloucestershire, England, 1920. Songs at the Start. 1884.—The White Sail, and Other Poems. 1887.]

I SAW the dusty curtain, ages old,

Its purple tatters twitched aside, and lo!

The fourth King Harry’s reign in lusty show

Behind, its deeds in living file outrolled

Of peace and war; some sage, some mad, and bold:

Last, near a tree, a bridled neighing row

With latest spoils encumbered, saints do know,

By Hal and Hal’s boon cronies; on the wold

Laughter of prince and commons; there and here

Travellers fleeing; drunken thieves that sang;

Wild bells; a tavern’s echoing jolly shout;

Signals along the highway, full of cheer;

A gate that closed with not incautious clang,

When that sweet rogue, bad Jack! came lumbering out.