For Chesterton Fans


It may be that this is available elsewhere on the web, but this is the first full version I've come across of "Lepanto."

I must immediately say that usually I'm not overwhelmed by Chesterton's verse, mostly workmanlike stuff. But this piece is nice for those of us taught in American schools where we really haven't an inkling of some of the important things have have gone on in the world before our naissance. It also has some sumptuous imagery and works as narrative (often a very difficult trick to pull off in poetry).

from "Lepanto"
G. K. Chesterton

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 19, 2002 8:43 PM.

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