Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IN ANDELYS: PRAYER TO THE GREAT NORMAN WATER-SPRITES, by PAUL FORT



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

IN ANDELYS: PRAYER TO THE GREAT NORMAN WATER-SPRITES, by            
First Line: Great spirits of the seine, in clear light flowing on, pliantly mirror
Last Line: Beneath french apple-trees.
Subject(s): France; Seine (river), France


Great spirits of the Seine, in clear light flowing on, pliantly mirroring
Andelys and Rouen,

of the Seine where apples rare their reddening globes may scan and Bouilhet and
Flaubert and Corneille and Poussin,

welcome without a sneer my country mien. I'm one, like you, not overprone to
guzzling ale and beer.

Do my friends in Bacchic glee -- La Fontaine and Racine -- drink naught but
Castaly and naught but Hippocrene?

no, red wine! A drop I toss of water of Jouvence into my cup that froths to
honour all of France,

and now in fellowship, if spoken it must be, is frothing at my lip to toast your
Normandy.

One drop of the water of youth and I rise, to shout afar, boldly, the praise, in
sooth, of old Chateau Gaillard,

of its cliffs, of the forests blue of that fair isle Contant, of the lovely Ile-
de-Grace and of Vexin Normand

and, indeed, at day's decline of a shower of raindrops fine which, my distant
loves, begets a host of sweet regrets.

Great sprites with names divine, permit then that Jouvence -- sole
potable fount of France -- be wedded to my wine.

This stirs the heart, it is a philtre, truth to tell. You recognise it well,
doers of prodigies!

A drop at least, forsooth, add to your cider's brew: that your work may keep its
youth and grow in merit, too.

Quaff cider and champagne 'mid the green rushes fair of the brook-side, O
Corneille, O Bouilhet, O Flaubert.

gold-wreathed! though Nicholas portrays us at our ease before a Roman arch,
beneath French apple-trees.





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