Seosamh Ui Maille

White founts falling in the courts of the sun,
And Lucan the Drachenclaw is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in thunder to the skies,
It challenges the darkness, the flashing of his eyes,
It wrinkles up the noble brow of that great and mighty lord,
For the east most land of all the earth is shaken with his swords.
They have rung from cold Ar nEilean-ne to the wastes of frozen North,
They have clashed across the Iron Bog and drew a hosting forth,
But the hunt does not delight him as it did upon his youth,
Old blood in old veins trembling, and he fears to see the truth,
So the King has cast his arm around for all that fight to hear,
And called the swords of Orient to ready and draw near,
For a tourney shall be held before the first frost's in the air,
And the winner of the martial feat shall be King Drachen's heir.

Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where in a old tired Barony a belt less lord has stirred,
Where, risen from the Mitgaard field and half forgotten hall,
An unassuming challenger takes his weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young,
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of cavalcade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Seosamh Ui Maille is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torch light crimson on the copper kettledrums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon and he comes.
Ui Maille laughing with his lips smile curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Sudden and still -- hurrah!
Bold from Carolingia!
Seosamh Ui Maille
Rides to Crown Tourney.

Knights from westward shires are strapping up their shields,
(Seosamh Ui Maille is girt and on the field.)
Dukes shake their iron lance and clap their wings of stone;
The noise is gone through all the lists; the noise is gone alone;
Seosamh wins through the blast and the lengthy fearsome trials
Wins through first and second rounds, with noble nods and smiles
His laugh ringeth true ha!
Domino Gloria!
Seosamh Ui Maille
Is in the semi-finals.

Seosamh pounding on the slick tourney field,
Purpling all the eric like a bloody pirate's shield,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Fighting to the finals and fights that place to hold,
The crying of a thousand tongues that leaps up from the crowd
Caring not for win or loss their cries are no less loud.
Viat Carolingia!
Domino Gloria!
Seosamh Ui Maille
Has made his people proud!

A scribe up in his garret sets the pen back in the sheath
(Seosamh Ui Maille rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a glint of hope renewed,
Of hope that noble character can still reap honour true,
And he smiles, and blows his candle out, and settles back to think
(But Seosamh Ui Maille rides home from tournament.)

 
 

After the fashion of Chesterton's Lepanto. A pretty direct rip-off.