Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VII. Descriptive: Narrative
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VII. Descriptive: Narrative.  1904.
Descriptive Poems: III. Places
“O, the pleasant days of old!”
Frances Browne (1816–1879)
O, THE PLEASANT days of old, which so often people praise!
True, they wanted all the luxuries that grace our modern days:
Bare floors were strewed with rushes, the walls let in the cold;
O, how they must have shivered in those pleasant days of old!
O, those ancient lords of old, how magnificent they were!        5
They threw down and imprisoned kings,—to thwart them who might dare?
They ruled their serfs right sternly; they took from Jews their gold,—
Above both law and equity were those great lords of old!
O, the gallant knights of old, for their valor so renowned!
With sword and lance and armor strong they scoured the country round;        10
And whenever aught to tempt them they met by wood or wold,
By right of sword they seized the prize,—those gallant knights of old!
O, the gentle dames of old! who, quite free from fear or pain,
Could gaze on joust and tournament, and see their champion slain;
They lived on good beefsteaks and ale, which made them strong and bold,—        15
O, more like men than women were those gentle dames of old!
O, those mighty towers of old! with their turrets, moat, and keep,
Their battlements and bastions, their dungeons dark and deep.
Full many a baron held his court within the castle hold;
And many a captive languished there, in those strong towers of old.        20
O, the troubadours of old! with the gentle minstrelsie
Of hope and joy, or deep despair, whiche’er their lot might be;
For years they served their ladye-loves ere they their passions told,—
O, wondrous patience must have had those troubadours of old!
O, those blessèd times of old, with their chivalry and state!        25
I love to read their chronicles, which such brave deeds relate;
I love to sing their ancient rhymes, to hear their legends told,—
But, Heaven be thanked! I lived not in those blessèd times of old!

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