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Poem by Arthur Conan Doyle


Songs of Action (1898). 6. A Forgotten Tale



[The scene of this ancient fight, recorded by Froissart, is still called 'Altura de los Inglesos.' Five hundred years later Wellington's soldiers were fighting on the same ground.]


Say, what saw you on the hill,
   	Campesino Garcia?
I saw my brindled heifer there,
A trail of bowmen, spent and bare,
And a little man on a sorrel mare
   	Riding slow before them.

Say, what saw you in the vale,
   	Campesino Garcia?
There I saw my lambing ewe
And an army riding through,
Thick and brave the pennons flew
   From the lances oer them.

Then what saw you on the hill,
   	Campesino Garcia?
I saw beside the milking byre,
White with want and black with mire,
The little man with eyes afire
   	Marshalling his bowmen.

Then what saw you in the vale,
   	Campesino Garcia?
There I saw my bullocks twain,
And amid my uncut grain
All the hardy men of Spain
   	Spurring for their foemen.

Nay, but there is more to tell,
   	Campesino Garcia!
I could not bide the end to view;
I had graver things to do
Tending on the lambing ewe
   	Down among the clover.

Ah, but tell me what you heard,
   	Campesino Garcia!
Shouting from the mountain-side,
Shouting until eventide;
But it dwindled and it died
   	Ere milking time was over.

Nay, but saw you nothing more,
   	Campesino Garcia?
Yes, I saw them lying there,
The little man and sorrel mare;
And in their ranks the bowmen fair,
   	With their staves before them.

And the hardy men of Spain,
   	Campesino Garcia?
Hush! but we are Spanish too;
More I may not say to you:
May Gods benison, like dew,
   	Gently settle oer them.



Arthur Conan Doyle


Arthur Conan Doyle's other poems:
  1. Songs of the Road (1911). 8. The Outcasts
  2. Songs of the Road (1911). 17. Man's Limitation
  3. Songs of the Road (1911). 4. A Post-Impressionist
  4. Songs of the Road (1911). 27. Sexagenarius Loquitur
  5. The Guards Came Through (1919). 7. Grousing


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