Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

Queen Radegund - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Between the dark and the day,
To the King's room where he lay
With crucifix and winding-sheet,
And chanting brethren two or three,
Queen Radegund came silently.

And she laid aside her crown
And let her dark hair fall adown, -
Fall about her white wan face
And he royal figure's grace,
And her wild eyes, strange and wide.

And she knelt down at his side,
Murmured to him soft and low,
Full of love and full of woe.

Sand the monks by his bed:
'Lord have mercy on our dead!'
'O my love, like a star
Very dear and very far,
Loving-hearted, leal and true!
I have lived, nor ever knew
What the hero heart you gave
To be slighted like a slave.'

'Fool, I deemed it good and meet
Thou shouldst worship at my feet,
Give thy great heart's priceless treasure
For a heedless woman's pleasure,
I, unworthy to be thine,
Love of mine, love of mine!'

Not a serf in the realm
But mourns for him who held the helm.

'Wake, love, wake and live;
All thou cravedst, now I give;
Gone the wanton heart's disdain
Never more to give thee pain;
Gone the fickle coquetry
And the heart that roved from thee.
See, my kiss is on thy brow!
Are my lips not fair enow?'

Cold and still, cold and still
Lay the dead King, pale and chill.
'Little heart have I to live:
This atonement would I give,
I who, living, deemed to live
Greatest prize the world can give, -
I would give the years to be
Here to die and follow thee.
Yet I know, - yet I know
Thou wouldst never fly the woe, -
Thou wouldst ever bear the cross
Of bitter sorrow, bitter loss;
I will lay my baubles by,
All the sunshine's gaiety,
Lonely in a convent cell,
Dreaming of the past, to dwell, -
Thro' the long years silently
Dream of thee, dream of thee.'

Cold and stark, cold and stark,
Lay the dead that would not hark.

'Love of mine, love of mine,
Coward am I so to pine:
Shall I live for ever so,
Selfish joy and craven woe?
Better, now thy race is run,
Do the deeds thou wouldst have done, -
Live a life more worthy thee,
Haply thou shalt smile to see, -
Serve the cause for whose fair pride
Thou hast toiled and fought and died, -
Play the part that once was thine,
Love of mine, love of mine!'

Came the sun o'er the wold,
With a flood of glorious gold,
Lit the hangings' broidered sheen,
Sleeping King and weeping Queen;
On the snow-cold face it gleamed,
So that for a while it seemed
Thro' the tears that fell like rain
That the dead lips smiled again.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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