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  4. Elegy in a Country Courtyard by G. K. Chesterton
Elegy in a Country Courtyard

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The men that worked for England
They have their graves at home:
And birds and bees of England
About the cross can roam.
But they that fought for England,
Following a falling star,
Alas, alas for England
They have their graves afar.
And they that rule in England,

In stately conclave met,

Alas, alas for England

They have no graves as yet.

Source: The Ballad of St. Barbara and Other Poems (1922)
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Elegy in a Country Courtyard

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  • G. K. Chesterton was one of the dominating figures of the London literary scene in the early twentieth century. Not only did he get into lively discussions with anyone who would debate him, including his friend, frequent verbal sparring partner, and noted Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, but he wrote about seemingly every topic, in every genre, from journalism to plays, poetry to crime novels. "He said something about everything and he said it better than anyone else," declared Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chester Society, on the society's Web site. Most of Chesterton's literary output was nonfiction, including thousands of columns for various periodicals, but today he is best remembered for his fictional work--a mystery series about Father Brown, a Catholic priest and amateur detective.

    Chesterton began his literary career as a manuscript reader for a London publishing house, but he soon moved into writing art criticism....

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