Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
The Sally from Coventry
By George Walter Thornbury (1828–1876)
 
“PASSION o’ me!” cried Sir Richard Tyrone,
Spurning the sparks from the broad paving-stone,
“Better turn nurse and rock children to sleep,
Than yield to a rebel old Coventry Keep.
No, by my halidom, no one shall say,        5
Sir Richard Tyrone gave a city away.”
 
Passion o’ me! how he pulled at his beard!
Fretting and chafing if any one sneered,
Clapping his breastplate and shaking his fist,
Giving his grizzly moustachios a twist,        10
Running the protocol through with his steel,
Grinding the letter to mud with his heel.
 
Then he roared out for a pottle of sack,
Clapped the old trumpeter twice on the back,
Leaped on his bay with a dash and a swing,        15
Bade all the bells in the city to ring,
And when the red flag from the steeple went down,
Open they flung every gate in the town.
 
To boot! and to horse! and away like a flood,
A fire in their eyes, and a sting in their blood;        20
Hurrying out with a flash and a flare,
A roar of hot guns, a loud trumpeter’s blare,
And first, sitting proud as a king on his throne,
At the head of them all dashed Sir Richard Tyrone.
 
Crimson, and yellow, and purple and dun,        25
Fluttering scarf, flowing bright in the sun,
Steel like a mirror on brow and on breast,
Scarlet and white on their feather and crest,
Banner that blew in a torrent of red,
Borne by Sir Richard, who rode at their head.        30
 
The “trumpet” went down—with a gash on his poll,
Struck by the parters of body and soul.
Forty saddles were empty; the horses ran red
With foul Puritan blood from the slashes that bled.
Curses and cries and a gnashing of teeth,        35
A grapple and stab on the slippery heath,
And Sir Richard leaped up on the fool that went down,
Proud as a conqueror donning his crown.
 
They broke them away through a flooding of fire,
Trampling the best blood of London to mire,        40
When suddenly rising a smoke and a blaze,
Made all “the dragon’s sons” stare in amaze:
“O ho!” quoth Sir Richard, “my city grows hot,
I’ve left it rent-paid to the villainous Scot.”
 
 
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