Edith Nesbit

The Vault


   YOU need not call at the Inn;
      I have ordered my bed:
   Fair linen sheets therein
      And a tester of lead.
   No musty fusty scents
      Such as inn chambers keep,
   But tapestried with content
      And hung with sleep.

   My Inn door bears no bar
      Set up against fear.
   The guests have journeyed far,
      They are glad to be here.
   Where the damp arch curves up grey,
      Long, long shall we lie;
   Good King’s men all are they,
      A King’s man I.

   Old Giles, in his stone asleep,
      Fought at Poictiers.
   Piers Ralph and Roger keep
      The spoil of their fighting years.
   I shall lie with my folk at last
      In a quiet bed;
   I shall dream of the sword held fast
      In a round-capped head.

   Good tale of men all told
      My Inn affords;
   And their hands peace shall hold
      That once held swords.
   And we who rode and ran
      On many a loyal quest
   Shall find the goal of man—
      A bed, and rest.

   We shall not stand to the toast
      Of Love or King;
   We be all too tired to boast
      About anything.
   We be dumb that did jest and sing;
      We rest who laboured and warred . . .
   Shout once, shout once for the King.
      Shout once for the sword!

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