The Jingo and the Minstral

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The Jingo and the Minstral

by: Vachel Lindsay (Author)
from: The Independent (P. 259)  Oct-Dec 1913

"Now do you know of Avalon
   That sailors call Japan?
She holds as rare a chivalry
    As ever bled for man.
King Arthur sleeps at Nikko hill
   Where Iyeyasu lies,
And there the broad Pendragon flag
   In deathless splendor flies."

"Nay, minstrel, but the great ships come
   From out the sunset sea.
We cannot greet the souls they bring
   With welcome high and free.
How can the Nippon nondescripts,
   That weird and dreadful band,
Be aught but what we find them here: —
   The blasters of the land?
"

"First race, first men from anywhere
   To face you, eye to eye.
For that do you curse Avalon
   And raise a hue and cry?
These toilers cannot kiss your hand,
   Or fawn with hearts bowed down.
Be glad for them, and Avalon,
   And Arthur's ghostly crown.

"No doubt your guests, with sage debate,
   In grave things gentlemen,
Will let your trade and farms alone,
   And turn them back again.
But why should brawling braggarts rise
   With hasty words of shame,
To drive them back, like dogs and swine,
   Who in due honor came?"

"We cannot give them honor, sir.
   We give them scorn for scorn.
And Rumor steals around the world,
   All white-skinned men to warn
Against this sleek silk-merchant here
   And viler coolie-man,
And wrath within the courts of war
   Brews on against Japan!
"

"Must Avalon, with hope forlorn,
   Her back against the wall,
Have lived her brilliant life in vain
   While ruder tribes take all?
Must Arthur stand with Asian Celts,
   A ghost with spear and crown,
Behind the great Pendragon flag
   And be again cut down?

"Tho' Europe's self shall move against
   High Jimmu Tenno's throne,
The Forty-seven Ronin Men
   Will not be found alone.
For Percival and Bedivere
   And Nogi side by side
Will stand, — with mourning Merlin there,
   Tho' all go down in pride.

"But has the world the envious dream —
   Ah, such things cannot be, —
To tear their fairy-land like silk
   And toss it in the sea?
Must this day rob the future day,
   The ultimate world-man,
Of rare Bushido, code of codes,
   The fair heart of Japan?

"Go, be the guest of Avalon.
   Believe me it lies there
Behind the mighty gray sea-wall
   Where heathen bend in prayer:
Where peasants lift adoring eyes
   To Fuji's crown of snow.
King Arthur's knights will be your hosts,
   So cleanse your heart, and go.

"And you will find but gardens sweet
   Prepared beyond the seas,
And you will find but gentlefolk
   Beneath the cherry-trees.
So walk you worthy of your Christ
   The church bells do not sound,
And weave the bands of brotherhood
   On Jimmu Tenno's ground."