Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Here you will find the Poem Variations of an Air of poet Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Variations of an Air

Old King Cole
Was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he
He called for his pipe 
and he called for his bowl 
and he called for his fiddlers three

after Lord Tennyson

Cole, that unwearied prince of Colchester, 
Growing more gay with age and with long days 
Deeper in laughter and desire of life 
As that Virginian climber on our walls 
Flames scarlet with the fading of the year; 
Called for his wassail and that other weed 
Virginian also, from the western woods 
Where English Raleigh checked the boast of Spain, 
And lighting joy with joy, and piling up 
Pleasure as crown for pleasure, bade me bring 
Those three, the minstrels whose emblazoned coats 
Shone with the oyster-shells of Colchester; 
And these three played, and playing grew more fain 
Of mirth and music; till the heathen came 
And the King slept beside the northern sea. 

after W.B. Yeats

Of an old King in a story 
From the grey sea-folk I have heard 
Whose heart was no more broken 
Than the wings of a bird. 

As soon as the moon was silver 
And the thin stars began, 
He took his pipe and his tankard, 
Like an old peasant man. 

And three tall shadows were with him 
And came at his command; 
And played before him for ever 
The fiddles of fairyland. 

And he died in the young summer 
Of the world's desire; 
Before our hearts were broken 
Like sticks in a fire. 

after Walt Whitman

Me clairvoyant, 
Me conscious of you, old camarado, 
Needing no telescope, lorgnette, field-glass, opera-glass, myopic pince-nez, 
Me piercing two thousand years with eye naked and not ashamed; 
The crown cannot hide you from me, 
Musty old feudal-heraldic trappings cannot hide you from me, 
I perceive that you drink. 
(I am drinking with you. I am as drunk as you are.) 
I see you are inhaling tobacco, puffing, smoking, spitting 
(I do not object to your spitting), 
You prophetic of American largeness, 
You anticipating the broad masculine manners of these States; 
I see in you also there are movements, tremors, tears, desire for the melodious, 
I salute your three violinists, endlessly making vibrations, 
Rigid, relentless, capable of going on for ever; 
They play my accompaniment; but I shall take no notice of any accompaniment; 
I myself am a complete orchestra. 
So long.