Richard Le Gallienne

(1866-1947 / England)

Ballade Of The Oldest Duel In The World - Poem by Richard Le Gallienne

A battered swordsman, slashed and scarred,
I scarce had thought to fight again,
But love of the old game dies hard,
So to't, my lady, if you're fain!
I'm scarce the mettle to refrain,
I'll ask no quarter from your art--
But what if we should both be slain!
I fight you, darling, for your heart.

I warn you, though, be on your guard,
Nor an old swordsman's craft disdain,
He jests at scars--what saith the Bard?
Love's wounds are real, and fierce the pain;
If we should die of love, we twain!
You laugh--_en garde_ then--so we start;
Cyrano-like, here's my refrain:
I fight you, darling, for your heart.

If compliments I interlard
Twixt feint and lunge, you'll not complain
Lacking your eyes, the night's un-starred,
The rose is beautiful in vain,
In vain smells sweet--Rose-in-the-Brain,
Dizzying the world--a touch! sweet smart!--
Only the envoi doth remain:
I fight you, darling, for your heart.


ENVOI

Princess, I'm yours; the rose-red rain
Pours from my side--but see! I dart
Within your guard--poor pretty stain!
I fight you, darling, for your heart.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010



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