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The Lamp Post

Laugh your best, O blazoned forests,
Me ye shall not shift or shame
With your beauty: here among you
Man hath set his spear of flame.

Lamp to lamp we send the signal,
For our lord goes forth to war;
Since a voice, ere stars were builded,
Bade him colonise a star.

Laugh ye, cruel as the morning,
Deck your heads with fruit and flower,
Though our souls be sick with pity,
Yet our hands are hard with power.

We have read your evil stories,
We have heard the tiny yell
Through the voiceless conflagration
Of your green and shining hell.

And when men, with fires and shouting,
Break your old tyrannic pales;
And where ruled a single spider
Laugh and weep a million tales.

This shall be your best of boasting:
That some poet, poor of spine.
Full and sated with our wisdom,
Full and fiery with our wine,

Shall steal out and make a treaty
With the grasses and the showers,
Rail against the grey town-mother,
Fawn upon the scornful flowers;

Rest his head among the roses,
Where a quiet song-bird sounds,
And no sword made sharp for traitors,
Hack him into meat for hounds.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton