At Lord's

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At Lord's
by Francis Thompson

Not long before his death and long after he had watched Hornby and Barlow bat at Old Trafford, Thompson was invited to watch Lancashire play Middlesex at Lord's. As the day of the match grew closer, Thompson became increasingly nostalgic. At the end, he did not go for the match, but sat at home and wrote At Lord's.

The first stanza of the poem has contributed the titles of at least two books on cricket - GD Martineau's The field is full of shades and Eric Midwinter's history of Lancashire cricket Red roses crest the caps.

It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,
Though my own red roses there may blow;
It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,
Though the red roses crest the caps, I know.
For the field is full of shades as I near a shadowy coast,
And a ghostly batsman plays to the bowling of a ghost,
And I look through my tears on a soundless-clapping host
As the run stealers flicker to and fro,
To and fro:
O my Hornby and my Barlow long ago !
It's Glo'ster coming North, the irresistible,
The Shire of the Graces , long ago!
It's Gloucestershire up North, the irrestistable,
And new-risen Lancashire the foe!
A Shire so young that has scarce impressed its traces,
Ah, how shall it stand before all-resistless Graces ?
O, little red rose, their bats are as maces
To beat thee down, this summer long ago !
This day of seventy-eight they are come up north against thee
This day of seventy-eight long ago!
The champion of the centuries, he cometh up against thee,
With his brethren, everyone a famous foe!
The long-whiskered Doctor, that laugheth the rules to scorn,
While the bowler, pitched against him, bans the day he was born;
And G.F. with his science makes the fairest length forlorn;
They are come from the West to work thee woe!
It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,
Though my own red roses there may blow;
It is little I repair to the matches of the Southron folk,
Though the red roses crest the caps, I know.
For the field is full of shades as I near a shadowy coast,
And a ghostly batsman plays to the bowling of a ghost,
And I look through my tears on a soundless-clapping host
As the run stealers flicker to and fro,
To and fro:
O my Hornby and my Barlow long ago !
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.