Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern American Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
 
Edwin Meade Robinson. 1879–
 
84. "Halcyon Days"
 
ERE yet the giants of modern science had gone a-slumming in smelly slums, 
And through the Ghettos and lazarettos had put in plumbing (and pulled out plums!) 
When wily wizards in inky vizards employed their talents at homicide, 
And poisoned goblets for faithless squablets by knightly gallants were justified; 
When maids were fairest, and baths were rarest, and thaumaturgy was wrought by dames,         5
When courts were rotten and faith forgotten, and none but clergy could write their names— 
  
When he who flouted the Church, or doubted, would find his neck fast in hempen ruff, 
And saint and sinner thought eggs for dinner and beer for breakfast the proper stuff; 
When men were scary of witch and fairy, of haunted castle, of spook and elf, 
When every mixer of cough-elixir was thought a vassal of Nick himself;  10
When income taxes and prophylaxis and Comic Sections were yet unborn, 
When Leagues of Nations and Spring Vacations and Fall Elections were held in scorn— 
  
When all brave fellows would fight duellos with sword and dagger, with lance and mace, 
When good men guzzled until, clean fuzzled, they'd reel and stagger about the place; 
When pious journeys and jousts and tourneys brought high adventure and secret tryst,  15
When knives were many, but forks not any—'twas fist to trencher, and mouth to fist!— 
Oh, men had chances for true romances, for fame and glory, and knightly acts... 
(And childish quarrels and beastly morals, if song and story would stick to facts!) 
 
 
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