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The Little Knight in Green

Katharine Lee Bates 1859 (Falmouth) – 1929 (Wellesley)



WHAT fragrant-footed comer
Is stepping o’er my head?
Behold, my queen! the Summer!
Who deems her warriors dead.
Now rise, ye knights of many fights,
From out your sleep profound!
Make sharp your spears, my gallant peers,
And prick the frozen ground.

Before the White Host harm her,
We ’ll hurry to her aid;
We ’ll don our elfin armor,
And every tiny blade
Shall bear atop a dewy drop,
The life-blood of the frost,
Till from their king the order ring:
“Fall back! the day is lost.”

Now shame to knighthood, brothers!
Must Summer plead in vain?
And shall I wait till others
My crown of sunshine gain?
Alone this day I ’ll dare the fray,
Alone the victory win;
In me my queen shall find, I ween,
A sturdy paladin.

To battle! Ho! King Winter
Hath rushed on me apace,—
My fragile blade doth splinter
Beneath his icy mace.
I stagger back. I yield—alack!
I fall. My senses pass.
Woe worth the chance for doughtiest lance
Of all the House of Grass!

Last hope my heart gives over.
But hark! a shout of cheer!
Don Daisy and Count Clover,
Sir Buttercup, are here!
Behold! behold! with shield of gold
Prince Dandelion comes.
Lord Bumble-Bee beats valiantly
His rolling battle-drums.

My brothers leave their slumbers
And lead the van of war;
Before our swelling numbers
The foes are driven far.
The day’s our own; but, overthrown,
A little Knight in green,
I kiss her feet and deem it sweet
To perish for my queen.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:17 min read
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Katharine Lee Bates

Katharine Lee Bates is remembered as the author of the words to the anthem America the Beautiful Bates was born in Falmouth Massachusetts and lived as an adult on Centre Street in Newton Massachusetts An historic plaque marks the site of her home The daughter of a Congregational pastor she graduated from Wellesley College in 1880 and for many years was a professor of English literature at Wellesley While teaching there she was elected a member of the newly formed Pi Gamma Mu honor society for the social sciences because of her interest in history and politics for which she also studied She lived at Wellesley with Katharine Coman who herself was a history and political economy teacher and founder of the Wellesley College Economics department The pair lived together for twenty-five years until Comans death in 1915 It is debated if this relationship was an intimate lesbian relationship as different sources maintain or a platonic relationship called sometimes Boston marriages as the local historical society of her birthplace maintain more…

All Katharine Lee Bates poems | Katharine Lee Bates Books

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