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

George Walter Thornbury (1828–1876)

Loyalist Lays

The Three Troopers

INTO the Devil tavern

Three booted troopers strode,

From spur to feather spotted and splashed

With the mud of a winter road.

In each of their cups they dropped a crust,

And stared at the guests with a frown;

Then drew their swords, and roared for a toast,

“God send this Crum-well down!”

A blue smoke rose from their pistol-locks,

Their sword-blades were still wet;

There were long red smears on their jerkins of buff,

As the table they overset.

Then into their cups they stirred the crusts,

And cursed old London town;

Then waved their swords, and drank with a stamp,

“God send this Crum-well down!”

The ’prentice dropped his can of beer,

The host turned pale as a clout;

The ruby nose of the toping squires

Grew white at the wild men’s shout.

Then into their cups they flung the crusts,

And showed their teeth with a frown:

They flashed their swords as they gave the toast,

“God send this Crum-well down!”

The gambler dropped his dog’s-eared cards,

The waiting-women screamed,

As the light of the fire, like stains of blood,

On the wild men’s sabres gleamed.

Then into their cups they splashed the crusts

And cursed the fool of a town,

And leaped on the table, and roared a toast,

“God send this Crum-well down!”

Till on a sudden fire-bells rang,

And the troopers sprang to horse;

The eldest muttered between his teeth

Hot curses—deep and coarse.

In their stirrup-cups they flung the crusts,

And cried as they spurred through town,

With their keen swords drawn and their pistols cocked,

“God send this Cram-well down!”

Away they dashed through Temple Bar,

Their red cloaks flowing free;

Their scabbards clashed, each back-piece shone,—

None liked to touch the three.

The silver cups that held the crusts

They flung to the startled town,

Shouting again with a blaze of swords,

“God send this Crum-well down!”