Treasure Island

William Bell Scott

(1811-1890 / Scotland)

A Lowland Witch Ballad

The old witch-wife beside her door
Sat spinning with a watchful ear,
A horse's hoof upon the road
Is what she waits for, longs to hear,
The mottled gloaming dusky grew,
Or else we might a furrow trace,
Sowed with small bones and leaves of yew,
Across the road from place to place.
Hark he comes! The young bridegroom,
Singing gaily down the hill,
Rides on, rides blindly to his doom,
His heart that witch hath sworn to kill.
Up to the fosse he rode so free,
There his steed stumbled and he fell,
He cannot pass, nor turn, nor flee;
His song is done, he's in the spell.
She dances round him where he stands,
Her distaff touches both his feet,
She blows upon his eyes and hands,
He has no power his fate to cheat.

‘Ye cannot visit her to-night,
Nor ever again,’ the witch-wife cried;
‘But thou shalt do as I think right,
And do it swift without a guide.
‘Upon the top of Tintock hill
This night there rests the yearly mist,
In silence go, your tongue keep still,
And find for me the dead man's kist.
‘Within the kist there is a cup,
Thou'lt find it by the dead man's shine,
Take it thus! thus fold it up,—
It holds for me the wisdom-wine.
‘Go to the top of Tintock hill,
Grope within that eerie mist,
Whatever happens, keep quite still
Until ye find the dead man's kist.
‘The kist will open, take the cup,
Heed ye not the dead man's shine,
Take it thus, thus fold it up,
Bring it to me and I am thine.’

He went, he could make answer none,
He went, he found all as she said,
Before the dawn had well begun
She had the cup from that strange bed.
Into the hut she fled at once,
She drank the wine;—forthwith, behold!
A radiant damozel advance
From that black door in silken fold.
The little Circe flower she held
Towards the boy with such a smile
Made his heart leap, he was compelled
To take it gently as a child.
She turned, he followed, passed the door,
Which closed behind: at noon next day,
Ambling on his mule that way,
The Abbot found the steed, no more,
The rest was lost in glamoury.

Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

Do you like this poem?
1 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Lowland Witch Ballad by William Bell Scott )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members.. Updates

New Poems

  1. Dear Life, Mark Webster
  2. Art, Mark Webster
  3. Being satisfied I am happy, gajanan mishra
  4. Humanity's Supposed Lament, Shalom Freedman
  5. नोँ सैथो समायना, Ronjoy Brahma
  6. Classes: Ruling, Fooling, and Drooling, Alfred Barna
  7. Dilemma, Gillian Commerford
  8. Living, Gillian Commerford
  9. सानसे, Ronjoy Brahma
  10. The Square, Frank Avon

Poem of the Day

poet Sir Walter Raleigh

EVEN such is Time, that takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with earth and dust;
   Who in the dark and silent grave,
...... Read complete »


Member Poem

Trending Poems

  1. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  2. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. If, Rudyard Kipling
  5. The Conclusion, Sir Walter Raleigh
  6. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  7. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  8. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love .., Pablo Neruda
  9. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  10. Dreams, Langston Hughes

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]