Cicely Fox Smith
The Ballad Of The Hun King's Dream - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
About the dead dark o' the night,
Ere the first cock clapped his wing,
The Hun Lord's soul had wandered far -
A shrunk and wizened thing -
Beyong Polaris and the Plough,
And the cold Northern Crown,
Where white in space the Milky Way
O'er the lip of space pours down.
East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon.
In a twilit land walked he,
The same where vagrant souls do range
When sleep has set them free -
And a shadowy guide went at his side
Whose face he might not see.
And first there was a place of thorns,
And then a salt sea-shore,
And then a river dark and wide
That no man might cross o'er;
And the wind blew, the wind blew
As it could blow no more.
'What thorns be these, so long and keen,
That bites me to the bone?' . . .
Oh, these be thorns of hate and lies
Which you on earth have sown.
'What sea is this before my feet
That has so salt a tide?'
Oh, that is the flood of women's tears
That fall and are not dried;
They weep, and, weeping, name his name
Through whom their dear ones died.
'What stream is this so dark and deep
That laps me to the chin?' . . .
Oh, that is the river of men's blood
Who perished by your sin.
There is no boat shall ferry you,
No ford shall bring you through
The red river that runs always
Between your God and you.
There was no light in all the land
But the far glare of Mars;
And the wind blew, the wind blew,
It shook the fixed stars.
And in that wind the shivering soul
Like a dry leaf was driven . . .
'What wind is this, what fearful wind,
That rocks the stars in Heaven?'
Oh, that is the breath of a dead mother
With a dead babe at her side,
Beneath your iron heel who lay,
And cursed you as she died!
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