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Short poem

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

The Song of the Bow

              1What of the bow?
              2    The bow was made in England:
              3Of true wood, of yew-wood,
              4    The wood of English bows;
              5        So men who are free
              6        Love the old yew-tree
              7And the land where the yew-tree grows.

              8What of the cord?
              9    The cord was made in England:
            10A rough cord, a tough cord,
            11    A cord that bowmen love;
            12        And so we will sing
            13        Of the hempen string
            14And the land where the cord was wove.

            15What of the shaft?
            16    The shaft was cut in England:
            17A long shaft, a strong shaft,
            18    Barbed and trim and true;
            19        So we'll drink all together
            20        To the grey goose-feather
            21And the land where the grey goose flew.

            22What of the mark?
            23    Ah, seek it not in England,
            24A bold mark, our old mark
            25    Is waiting over-sea.
            26        When the strings harp in chorus,
            27        And the lion flag is o'er us,
            28It is there that our mark will be.

            29What of the men?
            30    The men were bred in England:
            31The bowmen -- the yeomen,
            32    The lads of dale and fell.
            33        Here's to you -- and to you!
            34        To the hearts that are true
            35And the land where the true hearts dwell.


27] The seal of the British Royal Arms has images of a lion and a harp.

32] dale and fell: valley and hill.

Online text copyright © 2005, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Poems of Arthur Conan Doyle (1922; John Murray, 1928): 3-4. 21473.35.1 Widener Library Harvard University
Publication date note: Songs of Action (London: Smith, Elder, 1898). See Harold Locke, A Bibliographical Catalogue of the Writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Tunbridge Wells: D. Webster, 1928): 48.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2005
Recent editing: 1:2005/3/10

Rhyme: abacddc (with one variant)

Other poems by Arthur Conan Doyle