George Walter Thornbury ( )

The Three Troops

During the Protectorate
INTO the Devil tavern  
 Three booted troopers strode,  
From spur to feather spotted and splashd  
 With the mud of a winter road.  
In each of their cups they droppd a crust,  
 And stard at the guests with a frown;  
Then drew their swords, and roard 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 stirrd the crusts,  
 And cursd old London town;  
Then wavd their swords, and drank with a stamp,      
 God send this Crum-well-down!  
The prentice droppd his can of beer,  
 The host turnd pale as a clout;  
The ruby nose of the toping squire  
 Grew white at the wild mens shout.          
Then into their cups they flung the crusts,  
 And showd their teeth with a frown;  
They flashd their swords as they gave the toast,  
 God send this Crum-well-down!  
The gambler droppd his dogs-eard cards,      
 The waiting-women screamd,  
As the light of the fire, like stains of blood,  
 On the wild mens sabres gleamd.  
Then into their cups they splashd the crusts,  
 And cursd the fool of a town,        
And leapd on the table, and roard a toast,
 God send this Crum-well-down!  
Till on a sudden fire-bells rang,  
 And the troopers sprang to horse;  
The eldest mutterd between his teeth,        
 Hot cursesdeep and coarse.  
In their stirrup cups they flung the crusts,  
 And cried as they spurrd through town,  
With their keen swords drawn and their pistols cockd,  
 God send this Crum-well-down!          
Away they dashd through Temple Bar,  
 Their red cloaks flowing free,  
Their scabbards clashd, each back-piece shone  
 None likd 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!

George Walter Thornbury's other poems:
  1. John of Padua
  2. A Dorsetshire Legend
  3. The Bells of Avignon
  4. The Bells of Fontainebleau
  5. Temple Bar

 . Poem to print (Print)

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