The Valiant Knights of Peace

We are the valiant Knights of Peace
Who prattle for the Right:
Our banner is of snowy fleece,
Inscribed: “TOO PROUD TO FIGHT!”

By sweet Chautauqua’s flow’ry banks
We love to sing and play,
But should we spy a foeman’s ranks,
We’d proudly run away!

When Prussian fury sweeps the main
Our freedom to deny;
Of tyrant laws we ne’er complain,
But gladsomely comply!

We do not fear the submarines
That plough the troubled foam;
We scorn the ugly old machines—
And safely stay at home!

They say our country’s close to war,
And soon must man the guns;
But we see naught to struggle for—
We love the gentle Huns!

What tho’ their hireling Greaser bands
Invade our southern plains?
We well can spare those boist’rous lands,
Content with what remains!

Our fathers were both rude and bold,
And would not live like brothers;
But we are of a finer mould—
We’re much more like our mothers!

DESCRIPTION: In his poem “Pacifist War Song—1917,” Lovecraft satirizes the pacifists of his generation who were protesting America’s entry into the First World War.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “Pacifist War Song—1917.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, p. 401.


Proficient Paul Hath So Much Language Got

Proficient Paul hath so much Language got,
That he appears a very Polyglot.
Latin and Greek he talks with equal Ease,
And daily reads ten Pages of Chinese;
Translates a Russian Sentence at a Glance,
And revels in the fluent Tongue of France.
He thinks in Sanscrit, Arabic, and Such,
And writes his Notes in Hebrew and High-Dutch.
In sweet Italian sings a soft Refrain,
And greets us in the stately Speech of Spain.
In fine, to him consummately is known
Each Language, dead or living, but his own.

DESCRIPTION: In his poem “On an Accomplished Young Linguist,” Lovecraft gently mocks Americans who, despite their ignorance of English, consider themselves linguists because they have studied foreign languages.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “On an Accomplished Young Linguist.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, p. 266.

Hail! Little Sea

Hail! little sea, in whose bright waters shine
The myriad graces of the boundless brine;
Whose shallow calms and rippling surges bear
Th’ eternal sway of Neptune’s curule chair:
Thy kindly pow’r a grateful race confess,
And count thy virtues next to godliness;
Blest be thy waves, by no rude breezes blown,
To Britons sacred, and to Jews unknown!
How oft have I, in childhood’s blissful day,
Drawn o’er thy face my tiny fleets at play!
See bold Ulysses plough the Grecian main,
And Nelson at Trafalgar die again;
See Pompey’s triremes break the corsair’s pride,
And Northern Vikings brave the Arctic tide.
Fancy can trace within thy meagre bound
The storied deep, that girds our planet round!
What noble mem’ries thy white banks awake
Of Roman might that made creation quake!
Thy marble ancestors, by Tiber’s stream
In tribute to Imperial bounty gleam:
Where’er a Caesar’s wisdom rul’d the land,
In east or west, the stately thermae stand!
Say, lucid lake, what sylphs and fairies dwell
Beneath the crystal magic of thy spell?
Art as a fount in blest Arcadian mead
Where naiad throngs the sylvan syrinx heed,
Or dost thou bow to Triton’s wider rule,
And hold an ocean in thy placid pool?
Do little nereids, suited to thy size,
(Too small to glimpse with our crude mortal eyes)
Sport thro’ thy waves, and ev’ry crest adorn,
Upon the backs of tiny dolphins borne?
Imagination fain would find in thee
The charm, and lure, and glory of the sea!
How swells thy breast when on thy porcelain bed
Descending cloudbursts their mad fury shed!
How whirls thy tide when thro’ thy punctur’d floor
The angry waters in a maelstrom pour!
Then dost thou lie—a dry, deserted thing
For Gods to mourn, and third-rate bards to sing!

DESCRIPTION: In his poem “Ad Balneum,” Lovecraft satirizes Modernist poets, who often composed verses about everyday objects, by rhapsodizing about a humble bathtub.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “Ad Balneum.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, pp. 230-1.