Willy Smith at the Ball Game

By George Sterling

Happy, he heard the crass brass band—
Music adrift from Samarkand,

Or breath of trumpets faintly blown
From walls where Helen walked alone.

Not there a sweating batsman stood,
But St. George in the dragon"s wood.

Sir Nigel rode with nodding plume,
And Drake rehearsed the Spaniard"s doom.

Achilles and the captains came
To set the towers of Troy aflame.

A paladin of old romance
Stood balancing a starry lance—

The ball, a foeman's flaming dart,
The bat, a shield before the heart.

The cause of good and evil then
Was judged and cried before all men—

The reckoned war, the unending strife
That brave the tournament of life—

The old Illusion and its Rose,
With joy to friends and death to foes.

Bending above the lists he saw
The workings of colossal Law:

A world arraigned saw justice done
And good enthroned: the home team won!

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