Frances Anne Kemble

(27 November 1809 - 15 January 1893 / London, England)

Ballad - Poem by Frances Anne Kemble

The Lord's son stood at the clear spring head,
The May on the other side,
'And stretch me your lily hand,' he said,
'For I must mount and ride.
'And waft me a kiss across the brook,
And a curl of your yellow hair;
Come summer or winter, I ne'er shall look
Again on your eyes so fair.
'Bring me my coal-black steed, my squire,
Bring Fleetfoot forth!' he cried;
'For threescore miles he must not tire,
To bear me to my bride.
'His foot must be swift, though my heart be slow;
He carries me towards my sorrow;
To the Earl's proud daughter I made my vow,
And I must wed her to-morrow.'
The Lord's son stood at the altar stone,—
The Earl's proud daughter near:
'And what is that ring you have gotten on,
That you kiss so oft and so dear?
'Is it a ring of the yellow gold,
Or something more precious and bright?
Give me that ring in my hand to hold,
Or I plight ye no troth to-night.'
'It is not a ring of the yellow gold,
But something more precious and bright,
But never shall hand, save my hand, hold
This ring by day or night.'
'And now I am your wedded wife,
Give me the ring, I pray.'—
'You may take my lands, you may take my life,
But never this ring away.'
They sat at the board; and the lady bride
Red wine in a goblet pour'd;
'And pledge me a health, sweet sir,' she cried,
'My husband and my lord.'
The cup to his lips he had scarcely press'd,
When he gasping drew his breath,
His head sank down on his heaving breast,
And he said, 'It is death! it is death!—
'Oh, bury me under the gay green shaw
By the brook, 'neath the heathery sod,
Where last her blessed eyes I saw,
Where her blessed feet last trod!'

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010

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