Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FOR A CHILD: 1. WALKING SONG, by CHARLES WILLIAMS



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FOR A CHILD: 1. WALKING SONG, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Here we go a-walking, so softly, so softly
Last Line: His wings.
Subject(s): Imagination; Walking; Fancy


HERE we go a-walking, so softly, so softly,
Down the world, round the world, back to London town,
To see the waters and the whales, the emus and the
mandarins,
To see the Chinese mandarins, each in a silken gown.

Here we go a-walking, so softly, so softly,
Out by holy Glastonbury, back to London town,
Before a cup, a shining cup, a cup of beating crimson,
To see Saint Joseph saying mass all with a shaven
crown.

And round him are the silly things of hoof and claw and
feather,
Upon his right the farmyard, upon his left the wild;
All the lambs of all the folds bleat out the Agnus Dei,
And when he says the holy words he holds the holy
Child.

Here we go a-walking, so softly, so softly,
Through the vast Atlantic waves, back to London
town,
To see the ships made whole again that sank below the
tempest,
The Trojan and Phoenician ships that long ago went
down.

And there are sailors keeping watch on many a Roman
galley,
And silver bars and golden bars and mighty treasure
hid,
And splendid Spanish gentlemen majestically walking
And waiting on their admiral as once in far Madrid.

Here we go a-walking, so softly, so softly,
Down and under to New York back to London town,
To see the face of Liberty that smiles upon all children,
But when too soon they come of age she answers with
a frown.

And there are all the dancing stars beside the toppling
windows,
Human lights and heavenly lights they twinkle side
by side;
There is passing through the street the mighty voice of
Jefferson
And the armies of George Washington who would not
be denied.

Here we go a-walking, so softly, so softly,
O'er the wide Tibetan plains, back to London town,
To see the youthful Emperor among his seventy princes,
Who bears the mystic sceptre, who wears the mystic
crown.

The tongue he speaks is older far than Hebrew or than
Latin,
And ancient rituals drawn therein his eyes of mercy
con;
About his throne the candles shine and thuribles of
incense
Are swung about his footstool, and his name is
Prester John.

Here we go a-walking, so softly, so softly,
Down the pass of Himalay, back to London town,
To see our lord most pitiful, the holy Prince Siddartha,
And the Peacock Throne of Akbar, and great Timur
riding down.

Up to Delhi, up to Delhi! lo the Mogul's glory,
Twice ten thousand elephants trumpet round his
tent;
Down from Delhi, down from Delhi! lo the leafy budh-
tree
Where our lord at the fourth watch achieved enlight-
enment.

Here we go a-walking, so softly, so softly,
Through the jungles African, back to London town,
To see the shining rivers and the drinking-place by
moonlight,
And the lions and hyenas and the zebras coming
down:

To see bright birds and butterflies, the monstrous hippo-
potami,
The silent secret crocodiles that keep their ancient
guile,
The white road of the caravans that stretches o'er
Sahara,
And the Pharaoh in his litter at the fording of the
Nile.

Here we go a-walking, so softly, so softly,
Up the holy streets of Rome, back to London town,
To see the marching legions and the Consuls in their
triumph,
And the moving lips of Virgil and the laurel of his
crown:

And there is Caesar pacing to the foot of Pompey's
statue,
All scornful of his mastery, all careless of alarms;
And there the Pope goes all in white among his scarlet
Cardinals
And carried on the shoulders of his gentlemen-at-
arms.

Here we go a-walking, so softly, so softly,
Up the hills of Hampstead, back to London town,
And the garden gate stands open and the house door
swings before us,
And the candles twinkle happily as we lie down.

For here the noble lady is who meets us from our wan-
derings,
Here are all the sensible and very needful things,
Here are blankets, here is milk, here are rest and
slumber,
And the courteous prince of angels with the fire about
his wings.




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