Poems By The Way & Love Is Enough
by William Morris
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First Edition in this form, June 1896; Reprinted February 1898, May 1902, and June 1907_





























































Shall we wake one morn of spring, Glad at heart of everything, Yet pensive with the thought of eve? Then the white house shall we leave. Pass the wind-flowers and the bays, Through the garth, and go our ways, Wandering down among the meads Till our very joyance needs Rest at last; till we shall come To that Sun-god's lonely home, Lonely on the hillside grey, Whence the sheep have gone away; Lonely till the feast-time is, When with prayer and praise of bliss, Thither comes the country side. There awhile shall we abide, Sitting low down in the porch By that image with the torch: Thy one white hand laid upon The black pillar that was won From the far-off Indian mine; And my hand nigh touching thine, But not touching; and thy gown Fair with spring-flowers cast adown From thy bosom and thy brow. There the south-west wind shall blow Through thine hair to reach my cheek, As thou sittest, nor mayst speak, Nor mayst move the hand I kiss For the very depth of bliss; Nay, nor turn thine eyes to me. Then desire of the great sea Nigh enow, but all unheard, In the hearts of us is stirred, And we rise, we twain at last, And the daffodils downcast, Feel thy feet and we are gone From the lonely Sun-Crowned one, Then the meads fade at our back, And the spring day 'gins to lack That fresh hope that once it had; But we twain grow yet more glad, And apart no more may go When the grassy slope and low Dieth in the shingly sand: Then we wander hand in hand By the edges of the sea, And I weary more for thee Than if far apart we were, With a space of desert drear 'Twixt thy lips and mine, O love! Ah, my joy, my joy thereof!



At Deildar-Tongue in the autumn-tide, So many times over comes summer again, Stood Odd of Tongue his door beside. What healing in summer if winter be vain? Dim and dusk the day was grown, As he heard his folded wethers moan. Then through the garth a man drew near, With painted shield and gold-wrought spear. Good was his horse and grand his gear, And his girths were wet with Whitewater. "Hail, Master Odd, live blithe and long! How fare the folk at Deildar-Tongue?" "All hail, thou Hallbiorn the Strong! How fare the folk by the Brothers'-Tongue?" "Meat have we there, and drink and fire, Nor lack all things that we desire. But by the other Whitewater Of Hallgerd many a tale we hear." "Tales enow may my daughter make If too many words be said for her sake." "What saith thine heart to a word of mine, That I deem thy daughter fair and fine? Fair and fine for a bride is she, And I fain would have her home with me." "Full many a word that at noon goes forth Comes home at even little worth. Now winter treadeth on autumn-tide, So here till the spring shalt thou abide. Then if thy mind be changed no whit. And ye still will wed, see ye to it! And on the first of summer days, A wedded man, ye may go your ways. Yet look, howso the thing will fall, My hand shall meddle nought at all. Lo, now the night and rain draweth up. And within doors glimmer stoop and cup. And hark, a little sound I know, The laugh of Snbiorn's fiddle-bow, My sister's son, and a craftsman good, When the red rain drives through the iron wood." Hallbiorn laughed, and followed in, And a merry feast there did begin. Hallgerd's hands undid his weed, Hallgerd's hands poured out the mead. Her fingers at his breast he felt, As her hair fell down about his belt. Her fingers with the cup he took, And o'er its rim at her did look. Cold cup, warm hand, and fingers slim. Before his eyes were waxen dim. And if the feast were foul or fair, He knew not, save that she was there. He knew not if men laughed or wept, While still 'twixt wall and das she stept. Whether she went or stood that eve, Not once his eyes her face did leave. But Snbiorn laughed and Snbiorn sang, And sweet his smitten fiddle rang. And Hallgerd stood beside him there, So many times over comes summer again Nor ever once he turned to her, What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Master Odd on the morrow spake, So many times over comes summer again. "Hearken, O guest, if ye be awake," What healing in summer if winter be vain? "Sure ye champions of the south Speak many things from a silent mouth. And thine, meseems, last night did pray That ye might well be wed to-day. The year's ingathering feast it is, A goodly day to give thee bliss. Come hither, daughter, fine and fair, Here is a wooer from Whitewater. Fast away hath he gotten fame, And his father's name is e'en my name. Will ye lay hand within his hand, That blossoming fair our house may stand?" She laid her hand within his hand; White she was as the lily wand. Low sang Snbiorn's brand in its sheath, And his lips were waxen grey as death. "Snbiorn, sing us a song of worth. If your song must be silent from now henceforth. Clear and loud his voice outrang, And a song of worth at the wedding he sang. "Sharp sword," he sang, "and death is sure." So many times over comes summer again, "But love doth over all endure." What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Now winter cometh and weareth away, So many times over comes summer again, And glad is Hallbiorn many a day. What healing in summer if winter be vain? Full soft he lay his love beside; But dark are the days of winter-tide. Dark are the days, and the nights are long, And sweet and fair was Snbiorn's song. Many a time he talked with her, Till they deemed the summer-tide was there. And they forgat the wind-swept ways And angry fords of the flitting-days. While the north wind swept the hillside there They forgat the other Whitewater. While nights at Deildar-Tongue were long, They clean forgat the Brothers'-Tongue. But whatso falleth 'twixt Hell and Home, So many times over comes summer again, Full surely again shall summer come. What healing in summer if winter be vain?

To Odd spake Hallbiorn on a day So many times over comes summer again, "Gone is the snow from everyway." What healing in summer if winter be vain? "Now green is grown Whitewater-side, And I to Whitewater will ride." Quoth Odd, "Well fare thou winter-guest, May thine own Whitewater be best Well is a man's purse better at home Than open where folk go and come." "Come ye carles of the south country, Now shall we go our kin to see! For the lambs are bleating in the south, And the salmon swims towards Olfus mouth, Girth and graithe and gather your gear! And ho for the other Whitewater!" Bright was the moon as bright might be, And Snbiorn rode to the north country. And Odd to Reykholt is gone forth, To see if his mares be ought of worth. But Hallbiorn into the bower is gone And there sat Hallgerd all alone. She was not dight to go nor ride, She had no joy of the summer-tide. Silent she sat and combed her hair, That fell all round about her there. The slant beam lay upon her head, And gilt her golden locks to red. He gazed at her with hungry eyes And fluttering did his heart arise. "Full hot," he said, "is the sun to-day, And the snow is gone from the mountain-way The king-cup grows above the grass, And through the wood do the thrushes pass." Of all his words she hearkened none, But combed her hair amidst the sun. "The laden beasts stand in the garth And their heads are turned to Helliskarth." The sun was falling on her knee, And she combed her gold hair silently. "To-morrow great will be the cheer At the Brothers'-Tongue by Whitewater." From her folded lap the sunbeam slid; She combed her hair, and the word she hid. "Come, love; is the way so long and drear From Whitewater to Whitewater?" The sunbeam lay upon the floor; She combed her hair and spake no more. He drew her by the lily hand: "I love thee better than all the land." He drew her by the shoulders sweet: "My threshold is but for thy feet." He drew her by the yellow hair: "O why wert thou so deadly fair? O am I wedded to death?" he cried, "Is the Dead-strand come to Whitewater side?" And the sun was fading from the room, But her eyes were bright in the change and the gloom. "Sharp sword," she sang, "and death is sure, But over all doth love endure." She stood up shining in her place And laughed beneath his deadly face. Instead of the sunbeam gleamed a brand, The hilts were hard in Hallbiorn's hand: The bitter point was in Hallgerd's breast That Snbiorn's lips of love had pressed. Morn and noon, and nones passed o'er, And the sun is far from the bower door. To-morrow morn shall the sun come back, So many times over comes summer again, But Hallgerd's feet the floor shall lack. What healing in summer if winter be vain?

Now Hallbiorn's house-carles ride full fast, So many times over comes summer again, Till many a mile of way is past. What healing in summer if winter be vain? But when they came over Oxridges, 'Twas, "Where shall we give our horses ease?" When Shieldbroad-side was well in sight, 'Twas, "Where shall we lay our heads to-night?" Hallbiorn turned and raised his head; "Under the stones of the waste," he said. Quoth one, "The clatter of hoofs anigh." Quoth the other, "Spears against the sky!" "Hither ride men from the Wells apace; Spur we fast to a kindlier place." Down from his horse leapt Hallbiorn straight: "Why should the supper of Odin wait? Weary and chased I will not come To the table of my fathers' home." With that came Snbiorn, who but he, And twelve in all was his company. Snbiorn's folk were on their feet; He spake no word as they did meet. They fought upon the northern hill: Five are the howes men see there still. Three men of Snbiorn's fell to earth And Hallbiorn's twain that were of worth. And never a word did Snbiorn say, Till Hallbiorn's foot he smote away. Then Hallbiorn cried: "Come, fellow of mine, To the southern bent where the sun doth shine." Tottering into the sun he went, And slew two more upon the bent. And on the bent where dead he lay Three howes do men behold to-day. And never a word spake Snbiorn yet, Till in his saddle he was set. Nor was there any heard his voice, So many times over comes summer again Till he came to his ship in Grimsar-oyce. What healing in summer if winter be vain?

On so fair a day they hoisted sail, So many times over comes summer again, And for Norway well did the wind avail. What healing in summer if winter be vain? But Snbiorn looked aloft and said: "I see in the sail a stripe of red: Murder, meseems, is the name of it, And ugly things about it flit. A stripe of blue in the sail I see: Cold death of men it seems to me. And next I see a stripe of black, For a life fulfilled of bitter lack." Quoth one, "So fair a wind doth blow That we shall see Norway soon enow." "Be blithe, O shipmate," Snbiorn said, "Tell Hacon the Earl that I be dead." About the midst of the Iceland main Round veered the wind to the east again. And west they drave, and long they ran Till they saw a land was white and wan. "Yea," Snbiorn said, "my home it is, Ye bear a man shall have no bliss. Far off beside the Greekish sea The maidens pluck the grapes in glee. Green groweth the wheat in the English land, And the honey-bee flieth on every hand. In Norway by the cheaping town The laden beasts go up and down. In Iceland many a mead they mow And Hallgerd's grave grows green enow. But these are Gunnbiorn's skerries wan, Meet harbour for a hapless man. In all lands else is love alive, But here is nought with grief to strive. Fail not for a while, O eastern wind, For nought but grief is left behind. And before me here a rest I know," So many times over comes summer again, "A grave beneath the Greenland snow," What healing in summer if winter be vain?


Love gives every gift whereby we long to live: "Love takes every gift, and nothing back doth give."

Love unlocks the lips that else were ever dumb: "Love locks up the lips whence all things good might come."

Love makes clear the eyes that else would never see: "Love makes blind the eyes to all but me and thee."

Love turns life to joy till nought is left to gain: "Love turns life to woe till hope is nought and vain."

Love, who changest all, change me nevermore! "Love, who changest all, change my sorrow sore!"

Love burns up the world to changeless heaven and blest, "Love burns up the world to a void of all unrest."

And there we twain are left, and no more work we need: "And I am left alone, and who my work shall heed?"

Ah! I praise thee, Love, for utter joyance won! "And is my praise nought worth for all my life undone?"


Thick rise the spear-shafts o'er the land That erst the harvest bore; The sword is heavy in the hand, And we return no more. The light wind waves the Ruddy Fox, Our banner of the war, And ripples in the Running Ox, And we return no more. Across our stubble acres now The teams go four and four; But out-worn elders guide the plough, And we return no more. And now the women heavy-eyed Turn through the open door From gazing down the highway wide, Where we return no more. The shadows of the fruited close Dapple the feast-hall floor; There lie our dogs and dream and doze, And we return no more. Down from the minster tower to-day Fall the soft chimes of yore Amidst the chattering jackdaws' play: And we return no more. But underneath the streets are still; Noon, and the market's o'er! Back go the goodwives o'er the hill; For we return no more. What merchant to our gates shall come? What wise man bring us lore? What abbot ride away to Rome, Now we return no more? What mayor shall rule the hall we built? Whose scarlet sweep the floor? What judge shall doom the robber's guilt, Now we return no more? New houses in the street shall rise Where builded we before, Of other stone wrought otherwise; For we return no more. And crops shall cover field and hill Unlike what once they bore, And all be done without our will, Now we return no more. Look up! the arrows streak the sky, The horns of battle roar; The long spears lower and draw nigh, And we return no more. Remember how beside the wain, We spoke the word of war, And sowed this harvest of the plain, And we return no more. Lay spears about the Ruddy Fox! The days of old are o'er; Heave sword about the Running Ox! For we return no more.


Strong are thine arms, O love, and strong Thine heart to live, and love, and long; But thou art wed to grief and wrong: Live, then, and long, though hope be dead! Live on, and labour through the years! Make pictures through the mist of tears, Of unforgotten happy fears, That crossed the time ere hope was dead. Draw near the place where once we stood Amid delight's swift-rushing flood, And we and all the world seemed good Nor needed hope now cold and dead. Dream in the dawn I come to thee Weeping for things that may not be! Dream that thou layest lips on me! Wake, wake to clasp hope's body dead! Count o'er and o'er, and one by one, The minutes of the happy sun That while agone on kissed lips shone, Count on, rest not, for hope is dead. Weep, though no hair's breadth thou shalt move The living Earth, the heaven above, By all the bitterness of love! Weep and cease not, now hope is dead! Sighs rest thee not, tears bring no ease, Life hath no joy, and Death no peace: The years change not, though they decrease, For hope is dead, for hope is dead. Speak, love, I listen: far away I bless the tremulous lips, that say, "Mock not the afternoon of day, Mock not the tide when hope is dead!" I bless thee, O my love, who say'st: "Mock not the thistle-cumbered waste; I hold Love's hand, and make no haste Down the long way, now hope is dead. With other names do we name pain, The long years wear our hearts in vain. Mock not our loss grown into gain, Mock not our lost hope lying dead. Our eyes gaze for no morning-star, No glimmer of the dawn afar; Full silent wayfarers we are Since ere the noon-tide hope lay dead. Behold with lack of happiness The master, Love, our hearts did bless Lest we should think of him the less: Love dieth not, though hope is dead!"


Upon an eve I sat me down and wept, Because the world to me seemed nowise good; Still autumn was it, and the meadows slept, The misty hills dreamed, and the silent wood Seemed listening to the sorrow of my mood: I knew not if the earth with me did grieve, Or if it mocked my grief that bitter eve.

Then 'twixt my tears a maiden did I see, Who drew anigh me on the leaf-strewn grass, Then stood and gazed upon me pitifully With grief-worn eyes, until my woe did pass From me to her, and tearless now I was, And she mid tears was asking me of one She long had sought unaided and alone.

I knew not of him, and she turned away Into the dark wood, and my own great pain Still held me there, till dark had slain the day, And perished at the grey dawn's hand again; Then from the wood a voice cried: "Ah, in vain, In vain I seek thee, O thou bitter-sweet! In what lone land are set thy longed-for feet?"

Then I looked up, and lo, a man there came From midst the trees, and stood regarding me Until my tears were dried for very shame; Then he cried out: "O mourner, where is she Whom I have sought o'er every land and sea? I love her and she loveth me, and still We meet no more than green hill meeteth hill."

With that he passed on sadly, and I knew That these had met and missed in the dark night, Blinded by blindness of the world untrue, That hideth love and maketh wrong of right. Then midst my pity for their lost delight, Yet more with barren longing I grew weak, Yet more I mourned that I had none to seek.


'Twas in the water-dwindling tide When July days were done, Sir Rafe of Greenhowes 'gan to ride In the earliest of the sun.

He left the white-walled burg behind, He rode amidst the wheat. The westland-gotten wind blew kind Across the acres sweet.

Then rose his heart and cleared his brow, And slow he rode the way: "As then it was, so is it now, Not all hath worn away."

So came he to the long green lane That leadeth to the ford, And saw the sickle by the wain Shine bright as any sword.

The brown carles stayed 'twixt draught and draught, And murmuring, stood aloof, But one spake out when he had laughed: "God bless the Green-wood Roof!"

Then o'er the ford and up he fared: And lo the happy hills! And the mountain-dale by summer cleared, That oft the winter fills.

Then forth he rode by Peter's gate, And smiled and said aloud: "No more a day doth the Prior wait; White stands the tower and proud."

There leaned a knight on the gateway side In armour white and wan, And after the heels of the horse he cried, "God keep the hunted man!"

Then quoth Sir Rafe, "Amen, amen!" For he deemed the word was good; But never a while he lingered then Till he reached the Nether Wood.

He rode by ash, he rode by oak, He rode the thicket round, And heard no woodman strike a stroke, No wandering wife he found.

He rode the wet, he rode the dry, He rode the grassy glade: At Wood-end yet the sun was high, And his heart was unafraid.

There on the bent his rein he drew, And looked o'er field and fold, O'er all the merry meads he knew Beneath the mountains old.

He gazed across to the good Green Howe As he smelt the sun-warmed sward; Then his face grew pale from chin to brow, And he cried, "God save the sword!"

For there beyond the winding way, Above the orchards green, Stood up the ancient gables grey With ne'er a roof between.

His naked blade in hand he had, O'er rough and smooth he rode, Till he stood where once his heart was glad Amidst his old abode.

Across the hearth a tie-beam lay Unmoved a weary while. The flame that clomb the ashlar grey Had burned it red as tile.

The sparrows bickering on the floor Fled at his entering in; The swift flew past the empty door His winged meat to win.

Red apples from the tall old tree O'er the wall's rent were shed. Thence oft, a little lad, would he Look down upon the lead.

There turned the cheeping chaffinch now And feared no birding child; Through the shot-window thrust a bough Of garden-rose run wild.

He looked to right, he looked to left, And down to the cold grey hearth, Where lay an axe with half burned heft Amidst the ashen dearth.

He caught it up and cast it wide Against the gable wall; Then to the das did he stride, O'er beam and bench and all.

Amidst there yet the high-seat stood, Where erst his sires had sat; And the mighty board of oaken wood, The fire had stayed thereat.

Then through the red wrath of his eyne He saw a sheathed sword, Laid thwart that wasted field of wine, Amidmost of the board.

And by the hilts a slug-horn lay, And therebeside a scroll, He caught it up and turned away From the lea-land of the bowl.

Then with the sobbing grief he strove, For he saw his name thereon; And the heart within his breast uphove As the pen's tale now he won,

"O Rafe, my love of long ago! Draw forth thy father's blade, And blow the horn for friend and foe, And the good green-wood to aid!"

He turned and took the slug-horn up, And set it to his mouth, And o'er that meadow of the cup Blew east and west and south.

He drew the sword from out the sheath And shook the fallow brand; And there a while with bated breath, And hearkening ear did stand.

Him-seemed the horn's voice he might hear— Or the wind that blew o'er all. Him-seemed that footsteps drew anear— Or the boughs shook round the hall.

Him-seemed he heard a voice he knew— Or a dream of while agone. Him-seemed bright raiment towards him drew— Or bright the sun-set shone.

She stood before him face to face, With the sun-beam thwart her hand, As on the gold of the Holy Place The painted angels stand.

With many a kiss she closed his eyes; She kissed him cheek and chin: E'en so in the painted Paradise Are Earth's folk welcomed in.

There in the door the green-coats stood, O'er the bows went up the cry, "O welcome, Rafe, to the free green-wood, With us to live and die."

It was bill and bow by the high-seat stood, And they cried above the bows, "Now welcome, Rafe, to the good green-wood, And welcome Kate the Rose!"

White, white in the moon is the woodland plash, White is the woodland glade, Forth wend those twain, from oak to ash, With light hearts unafraid.

The summer moon high o'er the hill, All silver-white is she, And Sir Rafe's good men with bow and bill, They go by two and three.

In the fair green-wood where lurks no fear, Where the King's writ runneth not, There dwell they, friends and fellows dear, While summer days are hot.

And when the leaf from the oak-tree falls, And winds blow rough and strong, With the carles of the woodland thorps and halls They dwell, and fear no wrong.

And there the merry yule they make, And see the winter wane, And fain are they for true-love's sake, And the folk thereby are fain.

For the ploughing carle and the straying herd Flee never for Sir Rafe: No barefoot maiden wends afeard, And she deems the thicket safe.

But sore adread do the chapmen ride; Wide round the wood they go; And the judge and the sergeants wander wide, Lest they plead before the bow.

Well learned and wise is Sir Rafe's good sword, And straight the arrows fly, And they find the coat of many a lord, And the crest that rideth high.


Each eve earth falleth down the dark, As though its hope were o'er; Yet lurks the sun when day is done Behind to-morrow's door.

Grey grows the dawn while men-folk sleep, Unseen spreads on the light, Till the thrush sings to the coloured things, And earth forgets the night.

No otherwise wends on our Hope: E'en as a tale that's told Are fair lives lost, and all the cost Of wise and true and bold.

We've toiled and failed; we spake the word; None hearkened; dumb we lie; Our Hope is dead, the seed we spread Fell o'er the earth to die.

What's this? For joy our hearts stand still, And life is loved and dear, The lost and found the Cause hath crowned, The Day of Days is here.


O muse that swayest the sad Northern Song, Thy right hand full of smiting and of wrong, Thy left hand holding pity; and thy breast Heaving with hope of that so certain rest: Thou, with the grey eyes kind and unafraid, The soft lips trembling not, though they have said The doom of the World and those that dwell therein. The lips that smile not though thy children win The fated Love that draws the fated Death. O, borne adown the fresh stream of thy breath, Let some word reach my ears and touch my heart, That, if it may be, I may have a part In that great sorrow of thy children dead That vexed the brow, and bowed adown the head, Whitened the hair, made life a wondrous dream, And death the murmur of a restful stream, But left no stain upon those souls of thine Whose greatness through the tangled world doth shine. O Mother, and Love and Sister all in one, Come thou; for sure I am enough alone That thou thine arms about my heart shouldst throw, And wrap me in the grief of long ago.


There met three knights on the woodland, And the first was clad in silk array: The second was dight in iron and steel, But the third was rags from head to heel. "Lo, now is the year and the day come round When we must tell what we have found." The first said: "I have found a king Who grudgeth no gift of anything." The second said: "I have found a knight Who hath never turned his back in fight." But the third said: "I have found a love That Time and the World shall never move."

Whither away to win good cheer? "With me," said the first, "for my king is near." So to the King they went their ways; But there was a change of times and days. "What men are ye," the great King said, "That ye should eat my children's bread? My waste has fed full many a store, And mocking and grudge have I gained therefore. Whatever waneth as days wax old. Full worthy to win are goods and gold."

Whither away to win good cheer? "With me," said the second, "my knight is near. So to the knight they went their ways, But there was a change of times and days. He dwelt in castle sure and strong, For fear lest aught should do him wrong. Guards by gate and hall there were, And folk went in and out in fear. When he heard the mouse run in the wall, "Hist!" he said, "what next shall befall? Draw not near, speak under your breath, For all new-comers tell of death. Bring me no song nor minstrelsy, Round death it babbleth still," said he. "And what is fame and the praise of men, When lost life cometh not again?"

Whither away to seek good cheer? "Ah me!" said the third, "that my love were anear! Were the world as little as it is wide, In a happy house should ye abide. Were the world as kind as it is hard, Ye should behold a fair reward."

So far by high and low have they gone, They have come to a waste was rock and stone. But lo, from the waste, a company Full well bedight came riding by; And in the midst, a queen, so fair, That God wrought well in making her.

The first and second knights abode To gaze upon her as she rode, Forth passed the third with head down bent, And stumbling ever as he went. His shoulder brushed her saddle-bow; He trembled with his head hung low. His hand brushed o'er her golden gown, As on the waste he fell adown. So swift to earth her feet she set, It seemed that there her arms he met. His lips that looked the stone to meet Were on her trembling lips and sweet. Softly she kissed him cheek and chin, His mouth her many tears drank in. "Where would'st thou wander, love," she said, "Now I have drawn thee from the dead?" "I go my ways," he said, "and thine Have nought to do with grief and pine." "All ways are one way now," she said, "Since I have drawn thee from the dead." Said he, "But I must seek again Where first I met thee in thy pain: I am not clad so fair," said he, "But yet the old hurts thou may'st see. And thou, but for thy gown of gold, A piteous tale of thee were told." "There is no pain on earth," she said, "Since I have drawn thee from the dead." "And parting waiteth for us there," Said he, "as it was yester-year."

"Yet first a space of love," she said, "Since I have drawn thee from the dead." He laughed; said he, "Hast thou a home Where I and these my friends may come?" Laughing, "The world's my home," she said, "Now I have drawn thee from the dead. Yet somewhere is a space thereof Where I may dwell beside my love. There clear the river grows for him Till o'er its stones his keel shall swim. There faint the thrushes in their song, And deem he tarrieth overlong. There summer-tide is waiting now Until he bids the roses blow. Come, tell my flowery fields," she said, "How I have drawn thee from the dead."

Whither away to win good cheer? "With me," he said, "for my love is here. The wealth of my house it waneth not; No gift it giveth is forgot. No fear my house may enter in, For nought is there that death may win. Now life is little, and death is nought, Since all is found that erst I sought."


Draw not away thy hands, my love, With wind alone the branches move, And though the leaves be scant above The Autumn shall not shame us.

Say; Let the world wax cold and drear, What is the worst of all the year But life, and what can hurt us, dear, Or death, and who shall blame us?

Ah, when the summer comes again How shall we say, we sowed in vain? The root was joy, the stem was pain, The ear a nameless blending.

The root is dead and gone, my love, The stem's a rod our truth to prove; The ear is stored for nought to move Till heaven and earth have ending.


Fair now is the spring-tide, now earth lies beholding With the eyes of a lover, the face of the sun; Long lasteth the daylight, and hope is enfolding The green-growing acres with increase begun.

Now sweet, sweet it is through the land to be straying 'Mid the birds and the blossoms and the beasts of the field; Love mingles with love, and no evil is weighing On thy heart or mine, where all sorrow is healed.

From township to township, o'er down and by tillage Fair, far have we wandered and long was the day; But now cometh eve at the end of the village, Where over the grey wall the church riseth grey.

There is wind in the twilight; in the white road before us The straw from the ox-yard is blowing about; The moon's rim is rising, a star glitters o'er us, And the vane on the spire-top is swinging in doubt.

Down there dips the highway, toward the bridge crossing over The brook that runs on to the Thames and the sea. Draw closer, my sweet, we are lover and lover; This eve art thou given to gladness and me.

Shall we be glad always? Come closer and hearken: Three fields further on, as they told me down there, When the young moon has set, if the March sky should darken, We might see from the hill-top the great city's glare.

Hark, the wind in the elm-boughs! from London it bloweth, And telleth of gold, and of hope and unrest; Of power that helps not; of wisdom that knoweth, But teacheth not aught of the worst and the best.

Of the rich men it telleth, and strange is the story How they have, and they hanker, and grip far and wide; And they live and they die, and the earth and its glory Has been but a burden they scarce might abide.

Hark! the March wind again of a people is telling; Of the life that they live there, so haggard and grim, That if we and our love amidst them had been dwelling My fondness had faltered, thy beauty grown dim.

This land we have loved in our love and our leisure For them hangs in heaven, high out of their reach; The wide hills o'er the sea-plain for them have no pleasure, The grey homes of their fathers no story to teach.

The singers have sung and the builders have builded, The painters have fashioned their tales of delight; For what and for whom hath the world's book been gilded, When all is for these but the blackness of night?

How long, and for what is their patience abiding? How oft and how oft shall their story be told, While the hope that none seeketh in darkness is hiding, And in grief and in sorrow the world groweth old?

Come back to the inn, love, and the lights and the fire, And the fiddler's old tune and the shuffling of feet; For there in a while shall be rest and desire, And there shall the morrow's uprising be sweet.

Yet, love, as we wend, the wind bloweth behind us, And beareth the last tale it telleth to-night, How here in the spring-tide the message shall find us; For the hope that none seeketh is coming to light.

Like the seed of mid-winter, unheeded, unperished, Like the autumn-sown wheat 'neath the snow lying green, Like the love that overtook us, unawares and uncherished, Like the babe 'neath thy girdle that groweth unseen;

So the hope of the people now buddeth and groweth, Rest fadeth before it, and blindness and fear; It biddeth us learn all the wisdom it knoweth; It hath found us and held us, and biddeth us hear:

For it beareth the message: "Rise up on the morrow And go on your ways toward the doubt and the strife; Join hope to our hope and blend sorrow with sorrow. And seek for men's love in the short days of life."

But lo, the old inn, and the lights, and the fire, And the fiddler's old tune and the shuffling of feet; Soon for us shall be quiet and rest and desire, And to-morrow's uprising to deeds shall be sweet.


What cometh here from west to east awending? And who are these, the marchers stern and slow? We bear the message that the rich are sending Aback to those who bade them wake and know. Not one, not one, nor thousands must they slay, But one and all if they would dusk the day.

We asked them for a life of toilsome earning, They bade us bide their leisure for our bread; We craved to speak to tell our woeful learning: We come back speechless, bearing back our dead. Not one, not one, nor thousands must they slay, But one and all if they would dusk the day.

They will not learn; they have no ears to hearken. They turn their faces from the eyes of fate; Their gay-lit halls shut out the skies that darken. But, lo! this dead man knocking at the gate. Not one, not one, nor thousands must they slay, But one and all if they would dusk the day.

Here lies the sign that we shall break our prison; Amidst the storm he won a prisoner's rest; But in the cloudy dawn the sun arisen Brings us our day of work to win the best. Not one, not one, nor thousands must they slay, But one and all if they would dusk the day.


Lo from our loitering ship a new land at last to be seen; Toothed rocks down the side of the firth on the east guard a weary wide lea, And black slope the hillsides above, striped adown with their desolate green: And a peak rises up on the west from the meeting of cloud and of sea, Foursquare from base unto point like the building of Gods that have been, The last of that waste of the mountains all cloud-wreathed and snow-flecked and grey, And bright with the dawn that began just now at the ending of day.

Ah! what came we forth for to see that our hearts are so hot with desire? Is it enough for our rest, the sight of this desolate strand, And the mountain-waste voiceless as death but for winds that may sleep not nor tire? Why do we long to wend forth through the length and breadth of a land, Dreadful with grinding of ice, and record of scarce hidden fire, But that there 'mid the grey grassy dales sore scarred by the ruining streams Lives the tale of the Northland of old and the undying glory of dreams?

O land, as some cave by the sea where the treasures of old have been laid, The sword it may be of a king whose name was the turning of fight: Or the staff of some wise of the world that many things made and unmade. Or the ring of a woman maybe whose woe is grown wealth and delight. No wheat and no wine grows above it, no orchard for blossom and shade; The few ships that sail by its blackness but deem it the mouth of a grave; Yet sure when the world shall awaken, this too shall be mighty to save.

Or rather, O land, if a marvel it seemeth that men ever sought Thy wastes for a field and a garden fulfilled of all wonder and doubt, And feasted amidst of the winter when the fight of the year had been fought, Whose plunder all gathered together was little to babble about; Cry aloud from thy wastes, O thou land, "Not for this nor for that was I wrought Amid waning of realms and of riches and death of things worshipped and sure, I abide here the spouse of a God, and I made and I make and endure."

O Queen of the grief without knowledge, of the courage that may not avail, Of the longing that may not attain, of the love that shall never forget, More joy than the gladness of laughter thy voice hath amidst of its wail: More hope than of pleasure fulfilled amidst of thy blindness is set; More glorious than gaining of all thine unfaltering hand that shall fail: For what is the mark on thy brow but the brand that thy Brynhild doth bear? Lone once, and loved and undone by a love that no ages outwear.

Ah! when thy Balder comes back, and bears from the heart of the Sun Peace and the healing of pain, and the wisdom that waiteth no more; And the lilies are laid on thy brow 'mid the crown of the deeds thou hast done; And the roses spring up by thy feet that the rocks of the wilderness wore. Ah! when thy Balder comes back and we gather the gains he hath won, Shall we not linger a little to talk of thy sweetness of old, Yea, turn back awhile to thy travail whence the Gods stood aloof to behold?



King's daughter sitting in tower so high, Fair summer is on many a shield. Why weepest thou as the clouds go by? Fair sing the swans 'twixt firth and field. Why weepest thou in the window-seat Till the tears run through thy fingers sweet?


I weep because I sit alone Betwixt these walls of lime and stone. Fair folk are in my father's hall, But for me he built this guarded wall. And here the gold on the green I sew Nor tidings of my true-love know.


King's daughter, sitting above the sea, I shall tell thee a tale shall gladden thee. Yestreen I saw a ship go forth When the wind blew merry from the north. And by the tiller Steingrim sat, And O, but my heart was glad thereat! For 'twixt ashen plank and dark blue sea His sword sang sweet of deeds to be.


O barren sea, thou bitter bird, And a barren tale my ears have heard.


Thy father's men were hard thereby In byrny bright and helmet high.


O worser waxeth thy story far, For these drew upon me bolt and bar. Fly south, O fowl, to the field of death For nothing sweet thy grey neb saith.


O, there was Olaf the lily-rose, As fair as any oak that grows.


O sweet bird, what did he then Among the spears of my father's men?


'Twixt ashen plank and dark blue sea, He sang: My true love waiteth me.


As well as this dull floor knows my feet, I am not weary yet, my sweet.


He sang: As once her hand I had, Her lips at last shall make me glad.


As once our fingers met, O love, So shall our lips be fain thereof.


He sang: Come wrack and iron and flame, For what shall breach the wall but fame?


Be swift to rise and set, O Sun, Lest life 'twixt hope and death be done.


King's daughter sitting in tower so high, A gift for my tale ere forth I fly, The gold from thy finger fair and fine, Thou hadst it from no love of thine.


By my father's ring another there is, I had it with my mother's kiss. Fly forth, O fowl, across the sea To win another gift of me. Fly south to bring me tidings true, Fair summer is on many a shield. Of the eve grown red with the battle-dew, Fair sing the swans 'twixt firth and field.


King's daughter sitting in tower so high, Fair summer is on many a shield. Tidings to hearken ere thou die, Fair sing the swans 'twixt firth and field. In the Frankish land the spear points met, And wide about the field was wet. And high ere the cold moon quenched the sun, Blew Steingrim's horn for battle won.


Fair fall thee, fowl! Tell tidings true Of deeds that men that day did do.


Steingrim before his banner went, And helms were broke and byrnies rent.


A doughty man and good at need; Tell men of any other's deed?


Where Steingrim through the battle bore Still Olaf went a foot before.


O fair with deeds the world doth grow! Where is my true-love gotten now?


Upon the deck beside the mast He lieth now, and sleepeth fast.


Heard'st thou before his sleep began That he spake word of any man?


Methought of thee he sang a song, But nothing now he saith for long.


And wottest thou where he will wend With the world before him from end to end?


Before the battle joined that day Steingrim a word to him did say: "If we bring the banner back in peace, In the King's house much shall my fame increase; Till there no guarded door shall be But it shall open straight to me. Then to the bower we twain shall go Where thy love the golden seam doth sew. I shall bring thee in and lay thine hand About the neck of that lily-wand. And let the King be lief or loth One bed that night shall hold you both." Now north belike runs Steingrim's prow, And the rain and the wind from the south do blow.


Lo, fowl of death, my mother's ring, But the bridal song I must learn to sing. And fain were I for a space alone, For O the wind, and the wind doth moan. And I must array the bridal bed, Fair summer is on many a shield. For O the rain, and the rain drifts red! Fair sing the swans 'twixt firth and field.

Before the day from the night was born, Fair summer is on many a shield. She heard the blast of Steingrim's horn, Fair sing the swans 'twixt firth and field. Before the day was waxen fair Were Steingrim's feet upon the stair. "O bolt and bar they fall away, But heavy are Steingrim's feet to-day." "O heavy the feet of one who bears The longing of days and the grief of years! Lie down, lie down, thou lily-wand That on thy neck I may lay his hand. Whether the King be lief or loth To-day one bed shall hold you both. O thou art still as he is still, So sore as ye longed to talk your fill And good it were that I depart, Now heart is laid so close to heart. For sure ye shall talk so left alone Fair summer is on many a shield. Of days to be below the stone." Fair sing the swans 'twixt firth and field.


Spring went about the woods to-day, The soft-foot winter-thief, And found where idle sorrow lay 'Twixt flower and faded leaf.

She looked on him, and found him fair For all she had been told; She knelt adown beside him there, And sang of days of old.

His open eyes beheld her nought, Yet 'gan his lips to move; But life and deeds were in her thought, And he would sing of love.

So sang they till their eyes did meet, And faded fear and shame; More bold he grew, and she more sweet, Until they sang the same.

Until, say they who know the thing, Their very lips did kiss, And Sorrow laid abed with Spring Begat an earthly bliss.


Winter in the world it is, Round about the unhoped kiss Whose dream I long have sorrowed o'er; Round about the longing sore, That the touch of thee shall turn Into joy too deep to burn.

Round thine eyes and round thy mouth Passeth no murmur of the south, When my lips a little while Leave thy quivering tender smile, As we twain, hand holding hand, Once again together stand.

Sweet is that, as all is sweet; For the white drift shalt thou meet, Kind and cold-cheeked and mine own, Wrapped about with deep-furred gown In the broad-wheeled chariot: Then the north shall spare us not; The wide-reaching waste of snow Wilder, lonelier yet shall grow As the reddened sun falls down. But the warders of the town, When they flash the torches out O'er the snow amid their doubt, And their eyes at last behold Thy red-litten hair of gold; Shall they open, or in fear Cry, "Alas! what cometh here? Whence hath come this Heavenly One To tell of all the world undone?"

They shall open, and we shall see The long street litten scantily By the long stream of light before The guest-hall's half-open door; And our horses' bells shall cease As we reach the place of peace; Thou shalt tremble, as at last The worn threshold is o'er-past, And the fire-light blindeth thee: Trembling shalt thou cling to me As the sleepy merchants stare At thy cold hands slim and fair Thy soft eyes and happy lips Worth all lading of their ships.

O my love, how sweet and sweet That first kissing of thy feet, When the fire is sunk alow, And the hall made empty now Groweth solemn, dim and vast! O my love, the night shall last Longer than men tell thereof Laden with our lonely love!



O winter, O white winter, wert thou gone, No more within the wilds were I alone, Leaping with bent bow over stock and stone!

No more alone my love the lamp should burn, Watching the weary spindle twist and turn, Or o'er the web hold back her tears and yearn: O winter, O white winter, wert thou gone!


Sweet thoughts fly swiftlier than the drifting snow, And with the twisting threads sweet longings grow, And o'er the web sweet pictures come and go, For no white winter are we long alone.


O stream so changed, what hast thou done to me, That I thy glittering ford no more can see Wreathing with white her fair feet lovingly?

See, in the rain she stands, and, looking down With frightened eyes upon thy whirlpools brown, Drops to her feet again her girded gown. O hurrying turbid stream, what hast thou done?


The clouds lift, telling of a happier day When through the thin stream I shall take my way, Girt round with gold, and garlanded with may, What rushing stream can keep us long alone?


O burning Sun, O master of unrest, Why must we, toiling, cast away the best, Now, when the bird sleeps by her empty nest?

See, with my garland lying at her feet, In lonely labour stands mine own, my sweet, Above the quern half-filled with half-ground wheat. O red taskmaster, that thy flames were done!


O love, to-night across the half-shorn plain Shall I not go to meet the yellow wain, A look of love at end of toil to gain? What flaming sun can keep us long alone?


To-morrow, said I, is grape gathering o'er; To-morrow, and our loves are twinned no more. To-morrow came, to bring us woe and war.

What have I done, that I should stand with these Hearkening the dread shouts borne upon the breeze, While she, far off, sits weeping 'neath her trees? Alas, O kings, what is it ye have done?


Come, love, delay not; come, and slay my dread! Already is the banquet table spread; In the cool chamber flower-strewn is my bed: Come, love, what king shall keep us long alone?


O city, city, open thou thy gate! See, with life snatched from out the hand of fate! How on thy glittering triumph I must wait!

Are not her hands stretched out to me? Her eyes, Grow they not weary as each new hope dies, And lone before her still the long road lies? O golden city, fain would I be gone!


And thou art happy, amid shouts and songs, And all that unto conquering men belongs. Night hath no fear for me, and day no wrongs. What brazen city gates can keep us, lone?


O long, long road, how bare thou art, and grey! Hill after hill thou climbest, and the day Is ended now, O moonlit endless way!

And she is standing where the rushes grow, And still with white hand shades her anxious brow, Though 'neath the world the sun is fallen now, O dreary road, when will thy leagues be done?


O tremblest thou, grey road, or do my feet Tremble with joy, thy flinty face to meet? Because my love's eyes soon mine eyes shall greet? No heart thou hast to keep us long alone.


O wilt thou ne'er depart, thou heavy night? When will thy slaying bring on the morning bright, That leads my weary feet to my delight?

Why lingerest thou, filling with wandering fears My lone love's tired heart; her eyes with tears For thoughts like sorrow for the vanished years? Weaver of ill thoughts, when wilt thou be gone?


Love, to the east are thine eyes turned as mine, In patient watching for the night's decline? And hast thou noted this grey widening line? Can any darkness keep us long alone?


O day, O day, is it a little thing That thou so long unto thy life must cling, Because I gave thee such a welcoming?

I called thee king of all felicity, I praised thee that thou broughtest joy so nigh; Thine hours are turned to years, thou wilt not die; O day so longed for, would that thou wert gone!


The light fails, love; the long day soon shall be Nought but a pensive happy memory Blessed for the tales it told to thee and me. How hard it was, O love, to be alone.


Hast thou longed through weary days For the sight of one loved face? Hast thou cried aloud for rest, Mid the pain of sundering hours; Cried aloud for sleep and death, Since the sweet unhoped for best Was a shadow and a breath? O, long now, for no fear lowers O'er these faint feet-kissing flowers. O, rest now; and yet in sleep All thy longing shalt thou keep.

Thou shalt rest and have no fear Of a dull awaking near, Of a life for ever blind, Uncontent and waste and wide. Thou shalt wake and think it sweet That thy love is near and kind. Sweeter still for lips to meet; Sweetest that thine heart doth hide Longing all unsatisfied With all longing's answering Howsoever close ye cling.

Thou rememberest how of old E'en thy very pain grew cold, How thou might'st not measure bliss E'en when eyes and hands drew nigh. Thou rememberest all regret For the scarce remembered kiss. The lost dream of how they met, Mouths once parched with misery. Then seemed Love born but to die, Now unrest, pain, bliss are one, Love, unhidden and alone.


In Denmark gone is many a year, So fair upriseth the rim of the sun, Two sons of Gorm the King there were, So grey is the sea when day is done.

Both these were gotten in lawful bed Of Thyrre Denmark's Surety-head.

Fair was Knut of face and limb As the breast of the Queen that suckled him.

But Harald was hot of hand and heart As lips of lovers ere they part.

Knut sat at home in all men's love, But over the seas must Harald rove.

And for every deed by Harald won, Gorm laid more love on Knut alone.

On a high-tide spake the King in hall, "Old I grow as the leaves that fall.

"Knut shall reign when I am dead, So shall the land have peace and aid.

"But many a ship shall Harald have, For I deem the sea well wrought for his grave."

Then none spake save the King again, "If Knut die all my days be vain.

"And whoso the tale of his death shall tell, Hath spoken a word to gain him hell.

"Lo here a doom I will not break," So fair upriseth the rim of the sun. "For life or death or any man's sake," So grey is the sea when day is done.

O merry days in the summer-tide! So fair upriseth the rim of the sun. When the ships sail fair and the young men ride, So grey is the sea when day is done.

Now Harald has got him east away, And each morrow of fight was a gainful day.

But Knut is to his fosterer gone To deal in deeds of peace alone.

So wear the days, and well it is Such lovely lords should dwell in bliss.

O merry in the winter-tide When men to Yule-feast wend them wide.

And here lieth Knut in the Lima-firth When the lift is low o'er the Danish earth.

"Tell me now, Shipmaster mine, What are yon torches there that shine?"

"Lord, no torches may these be But golden prows across the sea.

"For over there the sun shines now And the gold worms gape from every prow."

The sun and the wind came down o'er the sea, "Tell them over how many they be!"

"Ten I tell with shield-hung sides. Nought but a fool his death abides."

"Ten thou tellest, and we be three, Good need that we do manfully.

"Good fellows, grip the shield and spear For Harald my brother draweth near.

"Well breakfast we when night is done, And Valhall's cock crows up the sun."

Up spoke Harald in wrathful case: "I would have word with this waxen face!

"What wilt thou pay, thou huckstered That I let thee live another year?

"For oath that thou wilt never reign Will I let thee live a year or twain."

"Kisses and love shalt thou have of me If yet my liegeman thou wilt be.

"But stroke of sword, and dint of axe, Or ere thou makest my face as wax."

As thick the arrows fell around As fall sere leaves on autumn ground.

In many a cheek the red did wane No maid might ever kiss again.

"Lay me aboard," Lord Harald said, "The winter day will soon be dead!

"Lay me aboard the bastard's ship, And see to it lest your grapnels slip!"

Then some they knelt and some they drowned, And some lay dead Lord Knut around.

"Look here at the wax-white corpse of him, As fair as the Queen in face and limb!

"Make now for the shore, for the moon is bright, And I would be home ere the end of night.

"Two sons last night had Thyrre the Queen, So fair upriseth the rim of the sun. And both she may lack ere the woods wax green," So grey is the sea when day is done.

A little before the morning tide, So fair upriseth the rim of the sun, Queen Thyrre looked out of her window-side, So grey is the sea when day is done.

"O men-at-arms, what men be ye?" "Harald thy son come over the sea."

"Why is thy face so pale, my son?" "It may be red or day is done."

"O evil words of an evil hour! Come, sweet son, to thy mother's bower!"

None from the Queen's bower went that day Till dark night over the meadows lay.

None thenceforth heard wail or cry Till the King's feast was waxen high.

Then into the hall Lord Harald came When the great wax lights were all aflame.

"What tidings, son, dost thou bear to me? Speak out before I drink with thee."

"Tidings small for a seafarer. Two falcons in the sea-cliffs were;

"And one was white and one was grey, And they fell to battle on a day;

"They fought in the sun, they fought in the wind, No boot the white fowl's wounds to bind.

"They fought in the wind, they fought in the sun, And the white fowl died when the play was done."

"Small tidings these to bear o'er the sea! Good hap that nothing worser they be!

"Small tidings for a travelled man! Drink with me, son, whiles yet ye can!

"Drink with me ere thy day and mine, So fair upriseth the rim of the sun, Be nought but a tale told over the wine." So grey is the sea when day is done.

Now fareth the King with his men to sleep, So fair upriseth the rim of the sun, And dim the maids from the Queen's bower creep, So grey is the sea when day is done.

And in the hall is little light, And there standeth the Queen with cheeks full white.

And soft the feet of women fall From end to end of the King's great hall.

These bear the gold-wrought cloths away, And in other wise the hall array;

Till all is black that hath been gold So heavy a tale there must be told.

The morrow men looked on King Gorm and said, "Hath he dreamed a dream or beheld the dead?

"Why is he sad who should be gay? Why are the old man's lips so grey?"

Slow paced the King adown the hall, Nor looked aside to either wall,

Till in high-seat there he sat him down, And deadly old men deemed him grown.

"O Queen, what thrall's hands durst do this, To strip my hall of mirth and bliss?"

"No thrall's hands in the hangings were, No thrall's hands made the tenters bare.

"King's daughters' hands have done the deed, The hands of Denmark's Surety-head."

"Nought betters the deed thy word unsaid. Tell me that Knut my son is dead!"

She said: "The doom on thee, O King! For thine own lips have said the thing."

Men looked to see the King arise, The death of men within his eyes.

Men looked to see his bitter sword That once cleared ships from board to board.

But in the hall no sword gleamed wide, His hand fell down along his side.

No red there came into his cheek, He fell aback as one made weak.

His wan cheek brushed the high-seat's side, And in the noon of day he died.

So lieth King Gorm beneath the grass, But from mouth to mouth this tale did pass.

And Harald reigned and went his way, So fair upriseth the rim of the sun. And still is the story told to-day, So grey is the sea when day is done.



Whence comest thou, and whither goest thou? Abide! abide! longer the shadows grow; What hopest thou the dark to thee will show?

Abide! abide! for we are happy here.


Why should I name the land across the sea Wherein I first took hold on misery? Why should I name the land that flees from me?

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.


What wilt thou do within the desert place Whereto thou turnest now thy careful face? Stay but a while to tell us of thy case.

Abide! abide! for we are happy here.


What, nigh the journey's end shall I abide, When in the waste mine own love wanders wide, When from all men for me she still doth hide?

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.


Nay, nay; but rather she forgetteth thee, To sit upon the shore of some warm sea, Or in green gardens where sweet fountains be.

Abide! abide! for we are happy here.


Will ye then keep me from the wilderness, Where I at least, alone with my distress, The quiet land of changing dreams may bless?

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.


Forget the false forgetter and be wise, And 'mid these clinging hands and loving eyes, Dream, not in vain, thou knowest paradise.

Abide! abide! for we are happy here.


Ah! with your sweet eyes shorten not the day, Nor let your gentle hands my journey stay! Perchance love is not wholly cast away.

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.


Pluck love away as thou wouldst pluck a thorn From out thy flesh; for why shouldst thou be born To bear a life so wasted and forlorn?

Abide! abide! for we are happy here.


Yea, why then was I born, since hope is pain, And life a lingering death, and faith but vain, And love the loss of all I seemed to gain?

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.


Dost thou believe that this shall ever be, That in our land no face thou e'er shalt see, No voice thou e'er shalt hear to gladden thee?

Abide! abide! for we are happy here.


No longer do I know of good or bad, I have forgotten that I once was glad; I do but chase a dream that I have had.

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.


Stay! take one image for thy dreamful night; Come, look at her, who in the world's despite Weeps for delaying love and lost delight.

Abide! abide! for we are happy here.


Mock me not till to-morrow. Mock the dead, They will not heed it, or turn round the head, To note who faithless are, and who are wed.

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.


We mock thee not. Hast thou not heard of those Whose faithful love the loved heart holds so close, That death must wait till one word lets it loose?

Abide! abide! for we are happy here.


I hear you not: the wind from off the waste Sighs like a song that bids me make good haste The wave of sweet forgetfulness to taste.

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.


Come back! like such a singer is the wind, As to a sad tune sings fair words and kind, That he with happy tears all eyes may blind!

Abide! abide! for we are happy here.


Did I not hear her sweet voice cry from far, That o'er the lonely waste fair fields there are, Fair days that know not any change or care?

Let me depart, since ye are happy here.


Oh, no! not far thou heardest her, but nigh; Nigh, 'twixt the waste's edge and the darkling sky. Turn back again, too soon it is to die.

Abide! a little while be happy here.


How with the lapse of lone years could I strive, And can I die now that thou biddest live? What joy this space 'twixt birth and death can give.

Can we depart, who are so happy here?


I know a little garden-close, Set thick with lily and red rose, Where I would wander if I might From dewy morn to dewy night, And have one with me wandering.

And though within it no birds sing, And though no pillared house is there, And though the apple-boughs are bare Of fruit and blossom, would to God Her feet upon the green grass trod, And I beheld them as before.

There comes a murmur from the shore, And in the close two fair streams are, Drawn from the purple hills afar, Drawn down unto the restless sea: Dark hills whose heath-bloom feeds no bee, Dark shore no ship has ever seen, Tormented by the billows green Whose murmur comes unceasingly Unto the place for which I cry.

For which I cry both day and night, For which I let slip all delight, Whereby I grow both deaf and blind, Careless to win, unskilled to find, And quick to lose what all men seek.

Yet tottering as I am and weak, Still have I left a little breath To seek within the jaws of death An entrance to that happy place, To seek the unforgotten face, Once seen, once kissed, once reft from me Anigh the murmuring of the sea.


Now sleeps the land of houses, and dead night holds the street, And there thou liest, my baby, and sleepest soft and sweet; My man is away for awhile, but safe and alone we lie, And none heareth thy breath but thy mother, and the moon looking down from the sky On the weary waste of the town, as it looked on the grass-edged road Still warm with yesterday's sun, when I left my old abode; Hand in hand with my love, that night of all nights in the year; When the river of love o'erflowed and drowned all doubt and fear, And we two were alone in the world, and once if never again, We knew of the secret of earth and the tale of its labour and pain.

Lo amidst London I lift thee, and how little and light thou art, And thou without hope or fear thou fear and hope of my heart! Lo here thy body beginning, O son, and thy soul and thy life; But how will it be if thou livest, and enterest into the strife, And in love we dwell together when the man is grown in thee, When thy sweet speech I shall hearken, and yet 'twixt thee and me Shall rise that wall of distance, that round each one doth grow, And maketh it hard and bitter each other's thought to know.

Now, therefore, while yet thou art little and hast no thought of thine own, I will tell thee a word of the world; of the hope whence thou hast grown; Of the love that once begat thee, of the sorrow that hath made Thy little heart of hunger, and thy hands on my bosom laid. Then mayst thou remember hereafter, as whiles when people say All this hath happened before in the life of another day; So mayst thou dimly remember this tale of thy mother's voice, As oft in the calm of dawning I have heard the birds rejoice, As oft I have heard the storm-wind go moaning through the wood; And I knew that earth was speaking, and the mother's voice was good.

Now, to thee alone will I tell it that thy mother's body is fair, In the guise of the country maidens Who play with the sun and the air; Who have stood in the row of the reapers in the August afternoon, Who have sat by the frozen water in the high day of the moon, When the lights of the Christmas feasting were dead in the house on the hill, And the wild geese gone to the salt-marsh had left the winter still. Yea, I am fair, my firstling; if thou couldst but remember me! The hair that thy small hand clutcheth is a goodly sight to see; I am true, but my face is a snare; soft and deep are my eyes, And they seem for men's beguiling fulfilled with the dreams of the wise. Kind are my lips, and they look as though my soul had learned Deep things I have never heard of. My face and my hands are burned By the lovely sun of the acres; three months of London town And thy birth-bed have bleached them indeed, "But lo, where the edge of the gown" (So said thy father) "is parting the wrist that is white as the curd From the brown of the hand that I love, bright as the wing of a bird."

Such is thy mother, O firstling, yet strong as the maidens of old, Whose spears and whose swords were the warders of homestead, of field, and of fold. Oft were my feet on the highway, often they wearied the grass; From dusk unto dusk of the summer three times in a week would I pass To the downs from the house on the river through the waves of the blossoming corn. Fair then I lay down in the even, and fresh I arose on the morn, And scarce in the noon was I weary. Ah, son, in the days of thy strife, If thy soul could but harbour a dream of the blossom of my life! It would be as the sunlit meadows beheld from a tossing sea, And thy soul should look on a vision of the peace that is to be.

Yet, yet the tears on my cheek! and what is this doth move My heart to thy heart, beloved, save the flood of yearning love? For fair and fierce is thy father, and soft and strange are his eyes That look on the days that shall be with the hope of the brave and the wise. It was many a day that we laughed, as over the meadows we walked, And many a day I hearkened and the pictures came as he talked; It was many a day that we longed, and we lingered late at eve Ere speech from speech was sundered, and my hand his hand could leave. Then I wept when I was alone, and I longed till the daylight came; And down the stairs I stole, and there was our housekeeping dame (No mother of me, the foundling) kindling the fire betimes Ere the haymaking folk went forth to the meadows down by the limes; All things I saw at a glance; the quickening fire-tongues leapt Through the crackling heap of sticks, and the sweet smoke up from it crept, And close to the very hearth the low sun flooded the floor, And the cat and her kittens played in the sun by the open door. The garden was fair in the morning, and there in the road he stood Beyond the crimson daisies and the bush of southernwood. Then side by side together through the grey-walled place we went, And O the fear departed, and the rest and sweet content!

Son, sorrow and wisdom he taught me, and sore I grieved and learned As we twain grew into one; and the heart within me burned With the very hopes of his heart. Ah, son, it is piteous, But never again in my life shall I dare to speak to thee thus; So may these lonely words about thee creep and cling, These words of the lonely night in the days of our wayfaring. Many a child of woman to-night is born in the town, The desert of folly and wrong; and of what and whence are they grown? Many and many an one of wont and use is born; For a husband is taken to bed as a hat or a ribbon is worn. Prudence begets her thousands; "good is a housekeeper's life, So shall I sell my body that I may be matron and wife." "And I shall endure foul wedlock and bear the children of need." Some are there born of hate, many the children of greed. "I, I too can be wedded, though thou my love hast got." "I am fair and hard of heart, and riches shall be my lot." And all these are the good and the happy, on whom the world dawns fair. O son, when wilt thou learn of those that are born of despair, As the fabled mud of the Nile that quickens under the sun With a growth of creeping things, half dead when just begun? E'en such is the care of Nature that man should never die, Though she breed of the fools of the earth, and the dregs of the city sty.

But thou, O son, O son, of very love wert born, When our hope fulfilled bred hope, and fear was a folly outworn. On the eve of the toil and the battle all sorrow and grief we weighed, We hoped and we were not ashamed, we knew and we were not afraid.

Now waneth the night and the moon; ah, son, it is piteous That never again in my life shall I dare to speak to thee thus. But sure from the wise and the simple shall the mighty come to birth; And fair were my fate, beloved, if I be yet on the earth When the world is awaken at last, and from mouth to mouth they tell Of thy love and thy deeds and thy valour, and thy hope that nought can quell.


When the boughs of the garden hang heavy with rain And the blackbird reneweth his song, And the thunder departing yet rolleth again, I remember the ending of wrong.

When the day that was dusk while his death was aloof Is ending wide-gleaming and strange For the clearness of all things beneath the world's roof, I call back the wild chance and the change.

For once we twain sat through the hot afternoon While the rain held aloof for a while, Till she, the soft-clad, for the glory of June Changed all with the change of her smile.

For her smile was of longing, no longer of glee, And her fingers, entwined with mine own, With caresses unquiet sought kindness of me For the gift that I never had known.

Then down rushed the rain, and the voice of the thunder Smote dumb all the sound of the street, And I to myself was grown nought but a wonder, As she leaned down my kisses to meet.

That she craved for my lips that had craved her so often, And the hand that had trembled to touch, That the tears filled her eyes I had hoped not to soften In this world was a marvel too much.

It was dusk 'mid the thunder, dusk e'en as the night, When first brake out our love like the storm, But no night-hour was it, and back came the light While our hands with each other were warm.

And her smile killed with kisses, came back as at first As she rose up and led me along, And out to the garden, where nought was athirst, And the blackbird renewing his song.

Earth's fragrance went with her, as in the wet grass, Her feet little hidden were set; She bent down her head, 'neath the roses to pass, And her arm with the lily was wet.

In the garden we wandered while day waned apace And the thunder was dying aloof; Till the moon o'er the minster-wall lifted his face, And grey gleamed out the lead of the roof.

Then we turned from the blossoms, and cold were they grown: In the trees the wind westering moved; Till over the threshold back fluttered her gown, And in the dark house was I loved.


There was a lord that hight Maltete, Among great lords he was right great, On poor folk trod he like the dirt, None but God might do him hurt. Deus est Deus pauperum.

With a grace of prayers sung loud and late Many a widow's house he ate; Many a poor knight at his hands Lost his house and narrow lands. Deus est Deus pauperum.

He burnt the harvests many a time, He made fair houses heaps of lime; Whatso man loved wife or maid Of Evil-head was sore afraid. Deus est Deus pauperum.

He slew good men and spared the bad; Too long a day the foul dog had, E'en as all dogs will have their day; But God is as strong as man, I say. Deus est Deus pauperum.

For a valiant knight, men called Boncoeur, Had hope he should not long endure, And gathered to him much good folk, Hardy hearts to break the yoke. Deus est Deus pauperum.

But Boncoeur deemed it would be vain To strive his guarded house to gain; Therefore, within a little while, He set himself to work by guile. Deus est Deus pauperum.

He knew that Maltete loved right well Red gold and heavy. If from hell The Devil had cried, "Take this gold cup," Down had he gone to fetch it up. Deus est Deus pauperum.

Twenty poor men's lives were nought To him, beside a ring well wrought. The pommel of his hunting-knife Was worth ten times a poor man's life. Deus est Deus pauperum.

A squire new-come from over-sea Boncoeur called to him privily, And when he knew his lord's intent, Clad like a churl therefrom he went Deus est Deus pauperum.

But when he came where dwelt Maltete, With few words did he pass the gate, For Maltete built him walls anew, And, wageless, folk from field he drew. Deus est Deus pauperum.

Now passed the squire through this and that, Till he came to where Sir Maltete sat, And over red wine wagged his beard: Then spoke the squire as one afeard. Deus est Deus pauperum.

"Lord, give me grace, for privily I have a little word for thee." "Speak out," said Maltete, "have no fear, For how can thy life to thee be dear?" Deus est Deus pauperum.

"Such an one I know," he said, "Who hideth store of money red." Maltete grinned at him cruelly: "Thou florin-maker, come anigh." Deus est Deus pauperum.

"E'en such as thou once preached of gold, And showed me lies in books full old, Nought gat I but evil brass, Therefore came he to the worser pass." Deus est Deus pauperum.

"Hast thou will to see his skin? I keep my heaviest marks therein, For since nought else of wealth had he, I deemed full well he owed it me." Deus est Deus pauperum.

"Nought know I of philosophy," The other said, "nor do I lie. Before the moon begins to shine, May all this heap of gold be thine." Deus est Deus pauperum.

"Ten leagues from this a man there is, Who seemeth to know but little bliss, And yet full many a pound of gold A dry well nigh his house doth hold." Deus est Deus pauperum.

"John-a-Wood is he called, fair lord, Nor know I whence he hath this hoard." Then Maltete said, "As God made me, A wizard over-bold is he!" Deus est Deus pauperum.

"It were a good deed, as I am a knight, To burn him in a fire bright; This John-a-Wood shall surely die, And his gold in my strong chest shall lie." Deus est Deus pauperum.

"This very night, I make mine avow. The truth of this mine eyes shall know." Then spoke an old knight in the hall, "Who knoweth what things may befall?" Deus est Deus pauperum.

"I rede thee go with a great rout, For thy foes they ride thick about." "Thou and the devil may keep my foes, Thou redest me this gold to lose." Deus est Deus pauperum.

"I shall go with but some four or five, So shall I take my thief alive. For if a great rout he shall see, Will he not hide his wealth from me?" Deus est Deus pauperum.

The old knight muttered under his breath, "Then mayhap ye shall but ride to death." But Maltete turned him quickly round, "Bind me this grey-beard under ground!" Deus est Deus pauperum.

"Because ye are old, ye think to jape. Take heed, ye shall not long escape. When I come back safe, old carle, perdie, Thine head shall brush the linden-tree." Deus est Deus pauperum.

Therewith he rode with his five men, And Boncoeur's spy, for good leagues ten, Until they left the beaten way, And dusk it grew at end of day. Deus est Deus pauperum.

There, in a clearing of the wood, Was John's house, neither fair nor good. In a ragged plot his house anigh, Thin coleworts grew but wretchedly. Deus est Deus pauperum.

John-a-Wood in his doorway sat, Turning over this and that, And chiefly how he best might thrive, For he had will enough to live. Deus est Deus pauperum.

Green coleworts from a wooden bowl He ate; but careful was his soul, For if he saw another day, Thenceforth was he in Boncoeur's pay. Deus est Deus pauperum.

So when he saw how Maltete came, He said, "Beginneth now the game!" And in the doorway did he stand Trembling, with hand joined fast to hand. Deus est Deus pauperum.

When Maltete did this carle behold Somewhat he doubted of his gold, But cried out, "Where is now thy store Thou hast through books of wicked lore?" Deus est Deus pauperum.

Then said the poor man, right humbly, "Fair lord, this was not made by me, I found it in mine own dry well, And had a mind thy grace to tell. Deus est Deus pauperum.

"Therefrom, my lord, a cup I took This day, that thou thereon mightst look, And know me to be leal and true," And from his coat the cup he drew. Deus est Deus pauperum.

Then Maltete took it in his hand, Nor knew he aught that it used to stand On Boncoeur's cupboard many a day. "Go on," he said, "and show the way. Deus est Deus pauperum.

"Give me thy gold, and thou shalt live, Yea, in my house thou well mayst thrive." John turned about and 'gan to go Unto the wood with footsteps slow. Deus est Deus pauperum.

But as they passed by John's woodstack, Growled Maltete, "Nothing now doth lack Wherewith to light a merry fire, And give my wizard all his hire." Deus est Deus pauperum.

The western sky was red as blood, Darker grew the oaken-wood; "Thief and carle, where are ye gone? Why are we in the wood alone? Deus est Deus pauperum.

"What is the sound of this mighty horn? Ah, God! that ever I was born! The basnets flash from tree to tree; Show me, thou Christ, the way to flee!" Deus est Deus pauperum.

Boncoeur it was with fifty men; Maltete was but one to ten, And his own folk prayed for grace, With empty hands in that lone place. Deus est Deus pauperum.

"Grace shall ye have," Boncoeur said, "All of you but Evil-head." Lowly could that great lord be, Who could pray so well as he? Deus est Deus pauperum.

Then could Maltete howl and cry, Little will he had to die. Soft was his speech, now it was late, But who had will to save Maltete? Deus est Deus pauperum.

They brought him to the house again, And toward the road he looked in vain. Lonely and bare was the great highway, Under the gathering moonlight grey. Deus est Deus pauperum.

They took off his gilt basnet, That he should die there was no let; They took off his coat of steel, A damned man he well might feel. Deus est Deus pauperum.

"Will ye all be rich as kings, Lacking naught of all good things?" "Nothing do we lack this eve; When thou art dead, how can we grieve?" Deus est Deus pauperum.

"Let me drink water ere I die, None henceforth comes my lips anigh." They brought it him in that bowl of wood. He said, "This is but poor men's blood!" Deus est Deus pauperum.

They brought it him in the cup of gold. He said, "The women I have sold Have wept it full of salt for me; I shall die gaping thirstily." Deus est Deus pauperum.

On the threshold of that poor homestead They smote off his evil head; They set it high on a great spear, And rode away with merry cheer. Deus est Deus pauperum.

At the dawn, in lordly state, They rode to Maltete's castle-gate. "Whoso willeth laud to win, Make haste to let your masters in!" Deus est Deus pauperum.

Forthwith opened they the gate, No man was sorry for Maltete. Boncoeur conquered all his lands, A good knight was he of his hands. Deus est Deus pauperum.

Good men he loved, and hated bad; Joyful days and sweet he had; Good deeds did he plenteously; Beneath him folk lived frank and free. Deus est Deus pauperum.

He lived long, with merry days; None said aught of him but praise. God on him have full mercy; A good knight merciful was he. Deus est Deus pauperum.

The great lord, called Maltete, is dead; Grass grows above his feet and head, And a holly-bush grows up between His rib-bones gotten white and clean. Deus est Deus pauperum.

A carle's sheep-dog certainly Is a mightier thing than he. Till London-bridge shall cross the Nen, Take we heed of such-like men. Deus est Deus pauperum.

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