CANADIAN BALLADS,

AND

OCCASIONAL VERSES.

By Thomas D’Arcy McGee


 

KING BRIAN’S ANSWER.



I.
 


“Go not forth to the battle,” they said,
      “But abide with your councillors sage,
“A helmet would weigh down the head
      “That already is weighed down with age.
“There are warriors many a one,

5
 

      “In their prime, all impatient to go—
“Let the host be led on by your son,
      “He will fetch you the spoils of the foe.”


II.
 


But the aged king rose in his place,
      And his eye had the fire of past years,

10
 

And his hand grasp’d the keen-point’d mace,
      And silence came over his peers:
“’Tis true, I am old,” and he smiled—
      “And the grave lies not far on my road,
“But in the arms I was nursed as a child,

15
 

      “And in arms I will go to my God. [Page 99]


III.
 


“For this is no battle for spoil,
      “No struggle with rivals for power:
“The Gentile is camped on our soil,
      “Where he must not exult for an hour.

20
 

“’Tis true, I am old,” and he smiled—
      “And the grave lies not far on my road,
“But in arms I was nursed as a child,
      “And in arms I will go to my God.” [Page 100]