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King’s College Chapel

When to the music of Byrd or Tallis,

The ruffed boys singing in the blackened stalls,

The candles lighting the small bones on their faces,

The Tudors stiff in marble on the walls.

There comes to evensong Elizabeth or Henry,

Rich with brocade, pearl, golden lilies, at the alter,

The scarlet lions leaping on their bosoms,

Pale royal hands fingering the crackling Psalter,

Henry is thinking of his lute and of backgammon,

Elizabeth follows the waving song, the mystery.

Proud in her red wig and green jewelled favours;

They sit in their white lawn sleeves, as cool as history.

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Charles Causley

Charles Stanley Causley (24 August 1917 – 4 November 2003) was a Cornish poet, schoolmaster and writer. His work is often noted for its simplici…

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