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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Frances Browne (1816–1879)

Oh the Pleasant Days of Old!

OH the pleasant days of old, which so often people praise!

True, they wanted all the luxuries that grace our modern days;

Bare floors were strewed with rushes, the walls let in the cold:

Oh, how they must have shivered in those pleasant days of old!

Oh those ancient lords of old, how magnificent they were!

They threw down and imprisoned kings;—to thwart them who might dare?

They ruled their serfs right sternly; they took from Jews their gold:

Above both law and equity were those great lords of old!

Oh the gallant knights of old, for their valor so renowned!

With sword and lance and armor strong they scoured the country round;

And whenever aught to tempt them they met by wood or wold,

By right of sword they seized the prize,—those gallant knights of old!

Oh the gentle dames of old! who, quite free from fear or pain,

Could gaze on joust and tournament, and see their champions slain;

They lived on good beefsteaks and ale, which made them strong and bold,—

Oh, more like men than women were those gentle dames of old!

Oh those mighty towers of old! with their turrets, moat, and keep,

Their battlements and bastions, their dungeons dark and deep:

Full many a baron held his court within the castle hold;

And many a captive languished there, in those strong towers of old.

Oh the troubadours of old! with the gentle minstrelsie

Of hope and joy, or deep despair, whiche’er their lot might be;

For years they served their ladye-love ere they their passions told:

Oh, wondrous patience must have had those troubadours of old!

Oh those blessed times of old, with their chivalry and state!

I love to read their chronicles, which such brave deeds relate;

I love to sing their ancient rhymes, to hear their legends told;—

But Heaven be thanked I live not in those blessed times of old!