Katharine Tynan

(23 January 1861 - 2 Apirl 1931 / 23 January 1861 – 2 April 1931)

The Riders - Poem by Katharine Tynan

RHEIMS is down in fire and smoke,
The hour of God is at the stroke.

Round and round the ruined place,-
Jesu, Mary, give us grace!

There are two riders clad in mail,
Silver as the moon pale.

One is tall as a knight's spear,
The younger one is lowlier.

Small and slim and like a maid-
Steeds and riders cast no shade.

Who are then these cavaliers?
There was a sound as Heaven dropt tears.

Who are these that ride so light,
Soundless in the flaming light,

Where Rheims burns, that was given
By France to Mary, Queen of Heaven?

O our Rheims, our Rheims is down,
Naught is left of her renown.

Hist! what sound is in the breeze,
Like the sighing of forest trees?

Or a great wind, or an army,
Or the waves of the wild sea?

The tall knight rides fierce and fast
To the sound of a trumpet-blast.

The little knight in fire and flame,
Slender and soft as a dame,

Rides and is not far behind:
His long hair floats on the wind.

And ever the tramp of chivalry
Comes like the sound of the sea.

This is Michael rides abroad,
Prince of the army of God,

And this like a lily arrayed,
Is Joan, the blessed Maid.

Rheims is down in fire and smoke
And the hour of God's at the stroke.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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