Poem: A Ballade of Books by S. Elliott Napier

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Crude, garish, and much-batter'd band,
   Now long-neglected and forlorn;
Unkempt, unlovely, there they stand.
   Their bindings loose, their pages torn
   And much by moist young fingers worn;
Yet once what magic broth they'd brew --  
   Those books we smile at now with scorn --
The good ship Faery's wondrous crew!     

Crusoe, affrighted on the sand,  
   "Brer Rabbit," chuckling in the thorn,
Fair Alice, down in Wonderland,
   And Vanderdecken on the Horn --
   Fiend-driven, reckless, and foresworn,  
These were our own, tried thro' and thro',
   Whose friendship could no bribe suborn --
The good ship Faery's wondrous crew!    

Crooning their songs upon the sand,  
   The sirens knew us; 'mid the corn  
The poppy elves would hold our hand
   And with their blooms our brows adorn.
   With eastern djinn and Northern Norn   
We childishly familiar grew;
   For they in those old books were born --
The good ship Faery's wondrous crew!


Crusader Time! Thy sword hath shorn
   And purged full many a faith deem'd true.
And so with ours -- but, ah! we mourn   
The good ship Faery's wondrous crew!

First published
in The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 October 1926

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