Poem by Charles Williams
Ballade of a Street Door
As I came up into the town
Wherein my father's house abide,
I met a man in tattered gown,
In ragged garment blowing wide,
With terror fleet and open-eyed;
'Ho, whither now so fast, I pray?'
Fearfully looked he back and cried:
'I pulled the bell and ran away!
'Good sir, if thou hast held renown
Among this people, be my guide!
I from their welcome, not their frown,
In shelter would obscurely hide.
For when, being tired, a latch I tried.
Whence came a sound of revels gay.
Fear rose within me like a tide,—
I pulled the bell and ran away.
'A voice called " Bring the festal crown!"
And running footsteps gateward hied.
Wherethrough I heard, as they came down.
Great names that challenged and replied.
And torchlight through the chinks I spied
My soul became a wild dismay.
And as the doors began to slide
I pulled the bell and ran away!'
Prince, was it you and I whose pride
So turned, so fled, upon our Day?
Was it our voices then which sighed
'I pulled the bell and ran away'?