Here you will find the Long Poem A Child's Battles of poet Algernon Charles Swinburne
Praise of the knights of old May sleep: their tale is told, And no man cares: The praise which fires our lips is A knight's whose fame eclipses All of theirs. The ruddiest light in heaven Blazed as his birth-star seven Long years ago: All glory crown that old year Which brought our stout small soldier With the snow! Each baby born has one Star, for his friends a sun, The first of stars: And we, the more we scan it, The more grow sure your planet, Child, was Mars. For each one flower, perchance, Blooms as his cognizance: The snowdrop chill, The violet unbeholden, For some: for you the golden Daffodil. Erect, a fighting flower, It breasts the breeziest hour That ever blew, And bent or broke things brittle Or frail, unlike a little Knight like you. Its flower is firm and fresh And stout like sturdiest flesh Of children: all The strenuous blast that parches Spring hurts it not till March is Near his fall. If winds that prate and fret Remark, rebuke, regret, Lament, or blame The brave plant's martial passion, It keeps its own free fashion All the same. We that would fain seem wise Assume grave mouths and eyes Whose looks reprove Too much delight in battle: But your great heart our prattle Cannot move. We say, small children should Be placid, mildly good And blandly meek: Whereat the broad smile rushes Full on your lips, and flushes All your cheek. If all the stars that are Laughed out, and every star Could here be heard, Such peals of golden laughter We should not hear, as after Such a word. For all the storm saith, still, Stout stands the daffodil: For all we say, Howe'er he look demurely, Our martialist will surely Have his way. We may not bind with bands Those large and liberal hands, Nor stay from fight, Nor hold them back from giving: No lean mean laws of living Bind a knight. And always here of old Such gentle hearts and bold Our land has bred: How durst her eye rest else on The glory shed from Nelson Quick and dead? Shame were it, if but one Such once were born her son, That one to have borne, And brought him ne'er a brother: His praise should bring his mother Shame and scorn. A child high-souled as he Whose manhood shook the sea Smiles haply here: His face, where love lies baslcing, With bright shut mouth seems asking, What is fear? The sunshine-coloured fists Beyond his dimpling wrists Were never closed For saving or for sparing-- For only deeds of daring Predisposed. Unclenched, the gracious hands Let slip their gifts like sands Made rich with ore That tongues of beggars ravish From small stout hands so lavish Of their store. Sweet hardy kindly hands Like these were his that stands With heel on gorge Seen trampling down the dragon On sign or flask or flagon, Sweet Saint George. Some tournament, perchance, Of hands that couch no lance, Might mark this spot Your lists, if here some pleasant Small Guenevere were present, Launcelot. My brave bright flower, you need No foolish song, nor heed It more than spring The sighs of winter stricken Dead when your haunts requicken Here, my king. Yet O, how hardly may The wheels of singing stay That whirl along Bright paths whence echo raises The phantom of your praises, Child, my song! Beyond all other things That give my words fleet wings, Fleet wings and strong, You set their jesses ringing Till hardly can I, singing, Stint my song. But all things better, friend, And worse must find an end: And, right or wrong, 'Tis time, lest rhyme should baffle, I doubt, to put a snaffle On my song. And never may your ear Aught harsher hear or fear, Nor wolfish night Nor dog-toothed winter snarling Behind your steps, my darling, My delight! For all the gifts you give Me, dear, each day you live, Of thanks above All thanks that could be spoken Take not my song in token, Take my love.