Sorrow's Treachery

I made a truce last night with Sorrow,
The queen of tears, the foe of sleep,
To keep her tents until the morrow,
Nor send such dreams to make me weep.

Before the lusty day was springing,
Before the tired moon was set,
I dreamed I heard my dead love singing,
And when I woke my eyes were wet.

Last night, when at parting
Awhile we did stand,
Suddenly starting,
There fell on my hand

Something that burned it,
Something that shone
In the moon as I turned it,
And then it was gone.

One bright stray jewel -
What made it stray?
Was I cold or cruel,
At the close of day?

Oh, do not cry, lass!
What is crying worth?
There is no lass like my lass
In the whole wide earth.

Mourn that which will not come again,
The joy, the strength of early years.
Bow down thy head, and let thy tears
Water the grave where hope lies slain.

For tears are like a summer rain,
To murmur in a mourner's ears,
To soften all the field of fears,
To moisten valleys parched with pain.

And though thy tears will not awake
What lies beneath of young or fair
And sleeps so sound it draws no breath,
Yet, watered thus, the sod may break
In flowers which sweeten all the air,
And fill with life the place of death.

Love Recalled In Sleep

There was a time when in your face
There dwelt such power, and in your smile
I know not what of magic grace;
They held me captive for a while.

Ah, then I listened for your voice!
Like music every word did fall,
Making the hearts of men rejoice,
And mine rejoiced the most of all.

At sight of you, my soul took flame.
But now, alas! the spell is fled.
Is it that you are not the same,
Or only that my love is dead?

I know not--but last night I dreamed
That you were walking by my side,
And sweet, as once you were, you seemed,
And all my heart was glorified.

Your head against my shoulder lay,
And round your waist my arm was pressed,
And as we walked a well-known way,
Love was between us both confessed.

But when with dawn I woke from sleep,
And slow came back the unlovely truth,
I wept, as an old man might weep
For the lost paradise of youth.

The House Of Sleep

When we have laid aside our last endeavour,
And said farewell to one or two that weep,
And issued from the house of life for ever,
To find a lodging in the house of sleep -

With eyes fast shut, in sunless chambers lying,
With folded arms unmoved upon the breast,
Beyond the noise of sorrow and of crying,
Beyond the dread of dreaming, shall we rest?

Or shall there come at last desire of waking,
To walk again on hillsides that we know,
When sunrise through the cold white mist is breaking,
Or in the stillness of the after-glow?

Shall there be yearning for the sound of voices,
The sight of faces, and the touch of hands,
The will that works, the spirit that rejoices,
The heart that feels, the mind that understands?

Shall dreams and memories crowding from the distance,
Shall ghosts of old ambition or of mirth,
Create for us a shadow of existence,
A dim reflection of the life of earth?

And being dead, and powerless to recover
The substance of the show whereon we gaze,
Shall we be likened to the hapless lover,
Who broods upon the unreturning days?

Not so: for we have known how swift to perish
Is man's delight when youth and health take wing,
Until the winter leaves him nought to cherish
But recollections of a vanished spring.

Dream as we may, desire of life shall never
Disturb our slumbers in the house of sleep.
Yet oh, to think we may not greet for ever
The one or two that, when we leave them, weep!

The Burial Of William - The Conqueror

Oh, who may this dead warrior be
That to his grave they bring?
`Tis William, Duke of Normandy,
The conqueror and king.

Across the sea, with fire and sword,
The English crown he won;
The lawless Scots they owned him lord,
But now his rule is done.

A king should die from length of years,
A conqueror in the field,
A king amid his people's tears,
A conqueror on his shield.

But he, who ruled by sword and flame,
Who swore to ravage France,
Like some poor serf without a name,
Has died by mere mischance.

To Caen now he comes to sleep,
The minster bells they toll,
A solemn sound it is and deep,
May God receive his soul!

With priests that chant a wailing hymn,
He slowly comes this way,
To where the painted windows dim
The lively light of day.

He enters in. The townsfolk stand
In reverent silence round,
To see the lord of all the land
Take house in narrow ground.

While, in the dwelling-place he seeks,
To lay him they prepare,
One Asselin FitzArthur speaks,
And bids the priests forbear.

`The ground whereon this abbey stands
Is mine,' he cries, `by right.
`Twas wrested from my father's hands
By lawlessness and might.

Duke William took the land away,
To build this minster high.
Bury the robber where ye may,
But here he shall not lie.'

The holy brethren bid him cease;
But he will not be stilled,
And soon the house of God's own peace
With noise and strife is filled.

And some cry shame on Asselin,
Such tumult to excite,
Some say, it was Duke William's sin,
And Asselin does right.

But he round whom their quarrels keep,
Lies still and takes no heed.
No strife can mar a dead man's sleep,
And this is rest indeed.

Now Asselin at length is won
The land's full price to take,
And let the burial rites go on,
And so a peace they make.

When Harold, king of Englishmen,
Was killed in Senlac fight,
Duke William would not yield him then
A Christian grave or rite.

Because he fought for keeping free
His kingdom and his throne,
No Christian rite nor grave had he
In land that was his own.

And just it is, this Duke unkind,
Now he has come to die,
In plundered land should hardly find
Sufficient space to lie.