The Ballad of the White Horse Quotes

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The Ballad of the White Horse The Ballad of the White Horse by G.K. Chesterton
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The Ballad of the White Horse Quotes Showing 1-14 of 14
“The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
“The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
“Sirs, I am but a nameless man,
A rhymester without a home,
Yet since I come of the Wessex clay
And carry the cross of Rome,

I will even answer the mighty earl
That asked of Wessex men
Why they be meek and monkish folk,
And bow to the White Lord's broken yoke;
What sign have we save blood and smoke?
Here is my answer then.

That on you is fallen the shadow,
And not upon the Name;
That though we scatter and though we fly,
And you hang over us like the sky,
You are more tired of victory,
Than we are tired of shame.

That though you hunt the Christian man
Like a hare on the hill-side,
The hare has still more heart to run
Than you have heart to ride.

That though all lances split on you,
All swords be heaved in vain,
We have more lust again to lose
Than you to win again.

Your lord sits high in the saddle,
A broken-hearted king,
But our king Alfred, lost from fame,
Fallen among foes or bonds of shame,
In I know not what mean trade or name,
Has still some song to sing.

Our monks go robed in rain and snow,
But the heart of flame therein,
But you go clothed in feasts and flames,
When all is ice within;

Nor shall all iron dooms make dumb
Men wandering ceaselessly,
If it be not better to fast for joy
Than feast for misery.

Nor monkish order only
Slides down, as field to fen,
All things achieved and chosen pass,
As the White Horse fades in the grass,
No work of Christian men.

Ere the sad gods that made your gods
Saw their sad sunrise pass,
The White Horse of the White Horse Vale,
That you have left to darken and fail,
Was cut out of the grass.

Therefore your end is on you,
Is on you and your kings,
Not for a fire in Ely fen,
Not that your gods are nine or ten,
But because it is only Christian men
Guard even heathen things.

For our God hath blessed creation,
Calling it good. I know
What spirit with whom you blindly band
Hath blessed destruction with his hand;
Yet by God's death the stars shall stand
And the small apples grow.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
“I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
“And he set to rhyme his ale-measures,
And he sang aloud his laws,
Because of the joy of giants,
The joy without a cause.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
“And well may God with the serving-folk
Cast in His dreadful lot;
Is not He too a servant,
And is not He forgot?

For was not God my gardener
And silent like a slave;
That opened oaks on the uplands
Or thicket in graveyard gave?

And was not God my armourer,
All patient and unpaid,
That sealed my skull as a helmet,
And ribs for hauberk made?

Did not a great grey servant
Of all my sires and me,
Build this pavilion of the pines,
And herd the fowls and fill the vines,
And labour and pass and leave no signs
Save mercy and mystery?

For God is a great servant,
And rose before the day,
From some primordial slumber torn;
But all we living later born
Sleep on, and rise after the morn,
And the Lord has gone away.

On things half sprung from sleeping,
All sleeping suns have shone,
They stretch stiff arms, the yawning trees,
The beasts blink upon hands and knees,
Man is awake and does and sees-
But Heaven has done and gone.

For who shall guess the good riddle
Or speak of the Holiest,
Save in faint figures and failing words,
Who loves, yet laughs among the swords,
Labours, and is at rest?

But some see God like Guthrum,
Crowned, with a great beard curled,
But I see God like a good giant,
That, laboring, lifts the world.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
“The men of the east may search the scrolls,
For sure fates and fame,
But the men that drink the blood of God go singing to their shame.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
“And the beasts of the earth and the birds looked down,
In a wild solemnity,
On a stranger sight than a sylph or elf,
On one man laughing at himself
Under the greenwood tree-

The giant laughter of Christian men
That roars through a thousand tales,
Where greed is an ape and pride is an ass,
And Jack's away with his master's lass,
And the miser is banged with all his brass,
The farmer with all his flails;

Tales that tumble and tales that trick,
Yet end not all in scorning-
Of kings and clowns in a merry plight,
And the clock gone wrong and the world gone right,
That the mummers sing upon Christmas night
And Christmas day in the morning.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
“People, if you have any prayers,
Say prayers for me:
And lay me under a Christian stone
In that lost land I thought my own,
To wait till the holy horn is blown,
And all poor men are free.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
“But out of the mouth of the Mother of God I have seen the truth like fire, This---that the sky grows darker yet And the sea rises higher.”
G. K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
“The wise men know what wicked things are written on the sky;
They trim sad lamps, they touch sad strings, hearing the heavy purple wings,
Where the forgotten Seraph kings still plot how God shall die.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
“The high tide!" King Alfred cried.
"The high tide and the turn!
As a tide turns on the tall grey seas,
See how they waver in the trees,
How stray their spears, how knock their knees,
How wild their watchfires burn!”
G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
“I know that weeds shall grow in it
Faster than men can burn;
And though they scatter now and go,
In some far century, sad and slow,
I have a vision, and I know
The heathen shall return.

"They shall not come with warships,
They shall not waste with brands,
But books be all their eating,
And ink be on their hands.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse
“But Mark was come of the glittering towns
Where hot white details show,
Where man can number and expound,
And his faith grew in a hard ground
Of doubt and reason and falsehood found,
Where no faith else could grow.

Belief that grew of all beliefs
One moment back was blown
And belief that stood on unbelief
Stood up iron and alone.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse