Home  »  An American Anthology, 1787–1900  »  518 On a Boy’s First Reading of “King Henry V”

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). An American Anthology, 1787–1900. 1900.

By Silas WeirMitchell

518 On a Boy’s First Reading of “King Henry V”

WHEN youth was lord of my unchallenged fate,

And time seemed but the vassal of my will,

I entertainëd certain guests of state—

The great of older days, who, faithful still,

Have kept with me the pact my youth had made.

And I remember how one galleon rare

From the far distance of a time long dead

Came on the wings of a fair-fortuned air,

With sound of martial music heralded,

In blazonry of storied shields arrayed.

So the Great Harry with high trumpetings,

The wind of victory in her burly sails!

And all her deck with clang of armor rings:

And under-flown the Lily standard trails,

And over-flown the royal Lions ramp.

The waves she rode are strewn with silent wrecks,

Her proud sea-comrades once; but ever yet

Comes time-defying laughter from her decks,

Where stands the lion-lord Plantagenet,

Large-hearted, merry, king of court and camp.

Sail on! sail on! The fatal blasts of time

That spared so few, shall thee with joy escort;

And with the stormy thunder of thy rhyme

Shalt thou salute full many a centuried port

With “Ho! for Harry and red Agin-court!”