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Virna Sheard

1862–1943. Canadian novelist and poet.

At a Glance

Rilla of Ingleside (1)

The Young Knights

Now they remain to us forever young
      Who with such splendor gave their youth away;

Perpetual Spring is their inheritance,
      Though they have lived in Flanders and in France
A round of years, in one remembered day.

They drained life’s goblet as a joyous draught
      And left within the cup no bitter lees.
Sweetly they answered to the King’s behest,
      And gallantly fared forth upon a quest,
Beset by foes on land and on the seas.

So in the ancient world hath bloomed again
      The rose of old romance—red as of yore;
The flower of high emprise hath whitely blown
      Above the graves of those we call our own,
And we will know its fragrance evermore.

Now if their deeds were written with the stars,
      In golden letters on the midnight sky
They would not care. They were so young, and dear,
      They loved the best the things that were most near,
And gave no thought to glory far and high.

They need no shafts of marble pure and cold—
      No painted windows radiantly bright;
Across our hearts their names are carven deep—
      In waking dreams, and in the dreams of sleep,
They bring us still ineffable delight.

Methinks heaven’s gates swing open very wide
      To welcome in a host so fair and strong;
Perchance the unharmed angels as they sing,
      May envy these the battle-scars they bring,
And sigh e’er they take up the triumph song!

Rilla of Ingleside, epigraph (“Now they remain to us forever young / Who with such splendour gave their / youth away”)

Sources

Sheard, Virna. “The Young Knights.” Globe (Toronto), 23 May 1916, 4.

Also, in slightly different form, in Virna Sheard, Carry On!, 8. Toronto: Warwick Bros. & Rutter, 1917. Online at http://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.76272/13?r=0&s=1.

Also, in slightly different form, in Canadian Poems of the Great War, edited by John W. Garvin, 219–20. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1918. Online at https://archive.org/details/canadianpoemsofg00garv/page/218/mode/2up.