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    Gilbert K. Chesterton

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    The Song of Elf

      Blue-eyed was Elf the minstrel,
      With womanish hair and ring,
      Yet heavy was his hand on sword,
      Though light upon the string.

      And as he stirred the strings of the harp
      To notes but four or five,
      The heart of each man moved in him
      Like a babe buried alive.

      And they felt the land of the folk-songs
      Spread southward of the Dane
      And they heard the good Rhine flowing
      In the heart of all Allemagne.

      They felt the land of the folk-songs,
      Where the gifts hang on the tree,
      Where the girls give ale at morning
      And the tears come easily.

      The mighty people, womanlike,
      That have pleasure in their pain;
      As he sang of Balder beautiful,
      Whom the heavens loved in vain.

      As he sang of Balder beautiful,
      Whom the heavens could not save,
      Till the world was like a sea of tears
      And every soul a wave.

      'There is always a thing forgotten
      When all the world goes well
      A thing forgotten, as long ago
      When the gods forgot the mistletoe,
      And soundless as an arrow of snow
      The arrow of anguish fell.

      'The thing on the blind side of the heart,
      On the wrong side of the door;
      The green plant groweth, menacing
      Almighty lovers in the spring;
      There is always a forgotten thing,
      And love is not secure.'


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