Came across the Goudge site while hunting for the exact quote from the “The Rosemary Tree”I’m pretty sure. I am away from my books, too, or it would be simple to find it. I think it was “The Old Knight”? And the lines were about youth and beauty being “flowers, fading seen” and duty being “trees, and evergreen”. If you know another source for the poem than the book or happen to have it memorized (as I thought I had) please contact me.
You were right it’s from the poem by George Peele which sets the scene for The Rosemary Tree, a trait Elizabeth loved to do.
The Old Knight
His golden locks time to silver turned;
O time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing;
His youth ‘gainst time and age hath ever spurned,
But spurned in vain; youth waneth by increasing;
Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love are roots, and ever green.
His helmet now shall make a hive for bees;
And, lovers’ sonnets turned to holy psalms,
A man-at-arms must now serve on his knees,
And feed on prayers, which are age’s alms;
But though from court to cottage he depart,
His saint is sure of his unspotted heart.
And when he saddest sits in homely cell,
He’ll teach his swains this carol for a song;
“Blest be the hearts that wish my sovereign well,
Curst be the souls that think her any wrong.”
Goddess, allow this aged man his right,
To be your beadsman now, that was your knight.
I like the line “His helmet now shall make a hive for bees;”
probably because my name Deborah means “busy bee” so I have always enjoyed references to them. It’s also reminiscent of ” beating swords into plough shares” a sentiment I also approve of.
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Thank you, thank you, thank you! I had misremembered the bit about “roots”. I love the poem. I’m glad to see there is a Goudge site. Never thought to look before. I have about 10 of her books, I guess and have loaned them out to my sisters, who have also appreciated them. We are of an age, you know. In fact, My Book of Comfort has been with one sister so long, I think she has forgotten it isn’t hers!
I noticed you said Dean’s Watch was your favourite. I think that might be mine also. Also loved A City of Bells. I haven’t been quite as fond of the historical novels. Thanks again. I wanted the lines to stitch on a quilt border for my grandson, and I needed to start right away.