O learned man who never learned to learn,

Save to deduce, by timid steps and small,

From towering smoke that fire can never burn

And from tall tales that men were never tall.

Say, have you thought what manner of man it is

Of who men say “He could strike giants down”?

Or what strong memories over time’s abyss

Bore up the pomp of Camelot and the crown.

And why one banner all the background fills,

Beyond the pageants of so many spears,

And by what witchery in the western hills

A throne stands empty for a thousand years.

Who hold, unheeding this immense impact,

Immortal story for a mortal sin;

Lest human fable touch historic fact,

Chase myths like moths, and fight them with a pin.

Take comfort; rest — there needs not this ado.

You shall not be a myth, I promise you.

Citation Information

G.K. Chesterton, “The Myth of Arthur,” An Unexpected Journal: King Arthur Legendarium 6, no. 2. (Summer 2023), 1.