Old Style

Bid by the day they wait for all the year,
Shepherd and swain their gayest colours don,
For race and sinewy wrestling meet upon
The tournay ground beside the shining mere.
For them no high-built seats their circles rear,
Heaven spreads above her pure pavilion,
Sun-tanned Stone-Arthur looks approval on,
And Solva How reiterates the cheer.
No banner-fame they boast, no high emprize;
A brother’s praise the simple meed they ask;
The fullest guerdon of the stubborn task
The love that lights a fluttering maiden’s eyes;
And they who fall turn smilingly away,
Resolved to win the next year’s meeting day.

(Sonnets at the English Lakes, p. 25)