Katharine Lee Bates

(1859-1929 / United States)

The Little Knight In Green - Poem by Katharine Lee Bates

WHAT fragrant-footed comer
Is stepping o’er my head?
Behold, my queen! the Summer!
Who deems her warriors dead.
Now rise, ye knights of many fights,
From out your sleep profound!
Make sharp your spears, my gallant peers,
And prick the frozen ground.

Before the White Host harm her,
We ’ll hurry to her aid;
We ’ll don our elfin armor,
And every tiny blade
Shall bear atop a dewy drop,
The life-blood of the frost,
Till from their king the order ring:
“Fall back! the day is lost.”

Now shame to knighthood, brothers!
Must Summer plead in vain?
And shall I wait till others
My crown of sunshine gain?
Alone this day I ’ll dare the fray,
Alone the victory win;
In me my queen shall find, I ween,
A sturdy paladin.

To battle! Ho! King Winter
Hath rushed on me apace,—
My fragile blade doth splinter
Beneath his icy mace.
I stagger back. I yield—alack!
I fall. My senses pass.
Woe worth the chance for doughtiest lance
Of all the House of Grass!

Last hope my heart gives over.
But hark! a shout of cheer!
Don Daisy and Count Clover,
Sir Buttercup, are here!
Behold! behold! with shield of gold
Prince Dandelion comes.
Lord Bumble-Bee beats valiantly
His rolling battle-drums.

My brothers leave their slumbers
And lead the van of war;
Before our swelling numbers
The foes are driven far.
The day’s our own; but, overthrown,
A little Knight in green,
I kiss her feet and deem it sweet
To perish for my queen.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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