The Foreigner

by Amy Lowell

Amy Lowell

Have at you, you Devils!

My back's to this tree,

For you're nothing so nice

That the hind-side of me

Would escape your assault.

Come on now, all three!

Here's a dandified gentleman,

Rapier at point,

And a wrist which whirls round

Like a circular joint.

A spatter of blood, man!

That's just to anoint

And make supple your limbs.

'Tis a pity the silk

Of your waistcoat is stained.

Why! Your heart's full of milk,

And so full, it spills over!

I'm not of your ilk.

You said so, and laughed

At my old-fashioned hose,

At the cut of my hair,

At the length of my nose.

To carve it to pattern

I think you propose.

Your pardon, young Sir,

But my nose and my sword

Are proving themselves

In quite perfect accord.

I grieve to have spotted

Your shirt. On my word!

And hullo! You Bully!

That blade's not a stick

To slash right and left,

And my skull is too thick

To be cleft with such cuffs

Of a sword. Now a lick

Down the side of your face.

What a pretty, red line!

Tell the taverns that scar

Was an honour. Don't whine

That a stranger has marked you.

* *

* * *

The tree's there, You Swine!

Did you think to get in

At the back, while your friends

Made a little diversion

In front? So it ends,

With your sword clattering down

On the ground. 'Tis amends

I make for your courteous

Reception of me,

A foreigner, landed

From over the sea.

Your welcome was fervent

I think you'll agree.

My shoes are not buckled

With gold, nor my hair

Oiled and scented, my jacket's

Not satin, I wear

Corded breeches, wide hats,

And I make people stare!

So I do, but my heart

Is the heart of a man,

And my thoughts cannot twirl

In the limited span

'Twixt my head and my heels,

As some other men's can.

I have business more strange

Than the shape of my boots,

And my interests range

From the sky, to the roots

Of this dung-hill you live in,

You half-rotted shoots

Of a mouldering tree!

Here's at you, once more.

You Apes! You Jack-fools!

You can show me the door,

And jeer at my ways,

But you're pinked to the core.

And before I have done,

I will prick my name in

With the front of my steel,

And your lily-white skin

Shall be printed with me.

For I've come here to win!