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Short poem

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

A Lay of the Links

              1It's up and away from our work to-day,
              2    For the breeze sweeps over the down;
              3And it's hey for a game where the gorse blossoms flame,
              4    And the bracken is bronzing to brown.
              5With the turf 'neath our tread and the blue overhead,
              6    And the song of the lark in the whin;
              7There's the flag and the green, with the bunkers between --
              8    Now will you be over or in?

              9The doctor may come, and we'll teach him to know
            10    A tee where no tannin can lurk;
            11The soldier may come, and we'll promise to show
            12    Some hazards a soldier may shirk;
            13The statesman may joke, as he tops every stroke,
            14    That at last he is high in his aims;
            15And the clubman will stand with a club in his hand
            16    That is worth every club in St. James'.

            17The palm and the leather come rarely together,
            18    Gripping the driver's haft,
            19And it's good to feel the jar of the steel
            20    And the spring of the hickory shaft.
            21Why trouble or seek for the praise of a clique?
            22    A cleek here is common to all;
            23And the lie that might sting is a very small thing
            24    When compared with the lie of the ball.

            25Come youth and come age, from the study or stage,
            26    From Bar or from Bench -- high and low!
            27A green you must use as a cure for the blues --
            28    You drive them away as you go.
            29We're outward bound on a long, long round,
            30    And it's time to be up and away:
            31If worry and sorrow come back with the morrow,
            32    At least we'll be happy to-day.


2] down: rolling upland.

3] gorse: a prickly shrub.

4] bracken: fern.

6] whin: gorse.

8] be over or in: overshoot the green, or land in the hole.

10] tannin: a pun -- untannined tea is green tea, tea without the slightly astringent tannin taste characteristic of black tea.

12] hazards: in golf, sand bunkers, ponds, ditches, etc.

13] tops every stroke: a topped stroke hits high on the ball and sends it skittering along the ground.

16] St. James': a district in London renowned for its gentleman's clubs such as Brook's and the Carleton.

17] the palm of the hand, and the leather of the golf-club's grip.

18] driver's haft: the upper shaft of the wood-faced club for striking the ball long off the tee.

20] hickory: a springy wood used before steel-shafted clubs.

21] a clique: an in-crowd.

22] cleek: mid-iron.

24] lie: how the ball rests good, as resting on top of the cropped grass; bad, as in a divot or beside a thick root.

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): 32-33. 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: abcbdefe

Other poems by Arthur Conan Doyle