Lionel Johnson
(For the Rev. John J. Burke, C.S.P.)
There was a murkier tinge in London’s air
   As if the honest fog blushed black for shame.
   Fools sang of sin, for other fools’ acclaim,
And Milton’s wreath was tossed to Baudelaire.
The flowers of evil blossomed everywhere,
   But in their midst a radiant lily came
   Candescent, pure, a cup of living flame,
Bloomed for a day, and left the earth more fair.
And was it Charles, thy “fair and fatal King,”
   Who bade thee welcome to the lovely land?
Or did Lord David cease to harp and sing
   To take in his thine emulative hand?
Or did Our Lady’s smile shine forth, to bring
   Her lyric Knight within her choir to stand?

Webpage © 2001 ELC
Lane Core Jr. (
Created April 1, 2001; not revised.