The Ballad of the White Horse by G. K. Chesterton
“When our last bow is broken, Queen,
And our last javelin cast,
Under some sad, green evening sky,
Holding a ruined cross on high,
Under warm westland grass to lie,
Shall we come home at last?”
Chesterton’s The Ballad of the White Horse is wonderful epic poetry, but I found myself rushing through it. Part of the reason was my lack of knowledge about English history, and part of it was that I just wasn’t in the mood for poetry. But I think anyone who loves Dante, Homer, or Milton would find much to appreciate in this 1911 ballad that tells the story of King Alfred and his battle against the invading Danes. There is a depth and spirituality behind the words that deserves a more thorough effort from the reader.
I consider this reading an introduction to a work I would like to come back to at some point in the future when I can read it more slowly, savoring the lines, the images, and the deeper meaning.