Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ROLLING ENGLISH ROAD, by GILBERT KEITH CHESTERTON



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THE ROLLING ENGLISH ROAD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Before the roman came to rye or out to severn strode
Last Line: Before we go to paradise by way of kensal green.
Alternate Author Name(s): Chesterton, G. K.
Subject(s): Alcoholism & Alcoholics; England; Life; Drunkards; Alcohol Abuse; English


BEFORE the Roman came to Rye or out of Severn
strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English
road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the
shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy
Head.

I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came
arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunk-
ard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in
our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin
Sands.

His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthing in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not
which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him
in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton
Pier.

My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of
age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that
wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of
death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be
seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.




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