Said The Gypsy To The Shepherd Maid (Part I) - Poem by David McLansky
Said the gypsy to the shepherd maid
As they chanced to meet upon the glade,
'You need not have a fear of me,
I am as constant as the sea;
I am as meek as the sheep you tend;
As gentle as a guinea hen;
I do but wish to see your face;
You lead your wards with heaven's grace;
For indeed the sun is made more glorious
By such a maid so sweet and dolorous;
You move about with such decorum
That I doubt myself and pinch my forearm;
Is this a Queen by spell displaced
From Court to field, such is your grace?
You wear a crown of golden myrtle,
A sash of nosegays by your girdle;
Were these once your robe and crown,
Your beauty famed and much renowned?
Did beauty's lure and subtle rapture
Refuse a God's intent to capture?
Did he in wrath with jealousy
Condemn you here, deprived as he?
Your eyes are coral, silvered glass;
Your toes resplendent on the grass;
Those feet which stepped in emerald' shoes
Still majestic, naked move.
Your hair is goldened by the sun,
Free in form by wind undone;
And yet I see its auburn strands
Are crown enough to make commands; '
'What courtiers have watched those lips
That he may know his rise or slip?
Lips that need no line or rouge,
So red the wine they do perfuse.
Your skin though darkened by the sun
Is smooth as milk when milkings done;
Your hands retain their liquid grace;
What lands you rule, what lucky race? '
His words brought streams to her eyes,
'You mock me with your pretty lies;
I've worn these rags all my life;
Your words cut deep as any knife.'
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