SQUIRE NORTON'S SONG
by: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
- HE child and the old man sat alone
- In the quiet, peaceful shade
- Of the old green boughs, that had richly grown
- In the deep, thick forest glade.
- It was a soft and pleasant sound,
- That rustling of the oak;
- And the gentle breeze played lightly round
- As thus the fair boy spoke:--
- "Dear father, what can honor be,
- Of which I hear men rave?
- Field, cell and cloister, land and sea,
- The tempest and the grave:--
- It lives in all, 'tis sought in each,
- 'Tis never heard or seen:
- Now tell me, father, I beseech,
- What can this honor mean?"
- "It is a name -- a name, my child --
- It lived in other days,
- When men were rude, their passions wild,
- Their sport, thick battle-frays.
- When, in armor bright, the warrior bold
- Knelt to his lady's eyes:
- Beneath the abbey pavement old
- That warrior's dust now lies.
- "The iron hearts of that old day
- Have mouldered in the grave;
- And chivalry has passed away,
- With knights so true and brave;
- The honor, which to them was life,
- Throbs in no bosom now;
- It only gilds the gambler's strife,
- Or decks the worthless vow."
POEMS BY CHARLES DICKENS
"Squire Norton's Song"
is reprinted from The Poems and Verse of Charles Dickens.
Ed. F.G. Kitton. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1903.