The White Company
- Conan Doyle, "The White Company", 1891
Chapter 31: HOW FIVE MEN HELD THE KEEP OF VILLEFRANCHE
Never did choice or dainty ditty of Provence or Languedoc sound more sweetly in the ears than did the rough-tongued Saxon to the six who strained their ears from the blazing keep:
We'll drink all together
To the gray goose feather
And the land where the gray goose flew.
"Ha, by my hilt!" shouted Aylward, "it is the dear old bow song of the Company. Here come two hundred as tight lads as ever twirled a shaft over their thumbnails. Hark to the dogs, how lustily they sing!"
Nearer and clearer, swelling up out of the night, came the gay marching lilt:
What of the bow?
The bow was made in England.
Of true wood, of yew wood,
The wood of English bows;
For men who are free
Love the old yew-tree
And the land where the yew tree grows.
What of the men?
The men were bred in England,
The bowmen, the yeomen,
The lads of the dale and fell,
Here's to you and to you,
To the hearts that are true,
And the land where the true hearts dwell.
"They sing very joyfully," said Du Guesclin, "as though they were going to a festival."
"It is their wont when there is work to be done."
[Selected by JoO]