Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
 
The Little Knight in Green
By Katharine Lee Bates (1859–1929)
 
[Born in Falmouth, Mass., 1859. Died in Wellesley, Mass., 1929.]

WHAT fragrant-footed comer
  Is stepping o’er my head?
Behold, my queen! the Summer!
  Who deems her warriors dead.
Now rise, ye knights of many fights,        5
  From out your sleep profound!
Make sharp your spears, my gallant peers,
  And prick the frozen ground.
 
Before the White Host harm her,
  We’ll hurry to her aid;        10
We’ll don our elfin armor,
  And every tiny blade
Shall bear atop a dewy drop,
  The life-blood of the frost,
Till from their king the order ring:        15
  “Fall back! the day is lost.”
 
Now shame to knighthood, brothers!
  Must Summer plead in vain?
And shall I wait till others
  My crown of sunshine gain?        20
Alone this day I’ll dare the fray,
  Alone the victory win;
In me my queen shall find, I ween,
  A sturdy paladin.
 
To battle! Ho! King Winter        25
  Hath rushed on me apace,—
My fragile blade doth splinter
  Beneath his icy mace.
I stagger back. I yield—alack!
  I fall. My senses pass.        30
Woe worth the chance for doughtiest lance
  Of all the House of Grass!
 
Last hope my heart gives over.
  But hark! a shout of cheer!
Don Daisy and Count Clover,        35
  Sir Buttercup, are here!
Behold! behold! with shield of gold
  Prince Dandelion comes.
Lord Bumble-Bee beats valiantly
  His rolling battle-drums.        40
 
My brothers leave their slumbers
  And lead the van of war;
Before our swelling numbers
  The foes are driven far.
The day’s our own; but, overthrown,        45
  A little Knight in green,
I kiss her feet and deem it sweet
  To perish for my queen.

  The Springfield Republican. 1883.
(Author’s revision.)
 
 
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