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Thou bare hem of thy body trewely: At Boloigne have I kept hem prively: Take hem agen, for now maist thou not say,
That thou hast lorn non of thy children tway.
"And folk, that otherwise han said of me,
I warne hem wel, that I have don this dede
For no malice, ne for no crueltee, But for to assay in thee thy womanhede:
And not to slee my children (God forbede)
But for to kepe hem prively and still, Til I thy purpos knew, and all thy will."
"O tendre, o dere, o yonge children mine,
Your woful mother wened stedfastly, That cruel houndes, or some foul vermine
Had eten you; but God of his mercy, And your benigne fader tendrely Hath don you kepe:" and in that same stound
Al sodenly she swapt adoun to ground.
And in her swough so sadly holdeth she
Her children two, whan she gan hem embrace,
That with gret sleight and gret difficultee
The children from her arm they gan
Six abeles i' the churchyard grow on the northside in a row,
Toll slowly. And the shadows of their tops rock across the little slopes
Of the grassy graves below.
On the south side and the west, a small river runs in haste, Toll slowly. And between the river flowing and the fair green trees a-growing Do the dead lie at their rest.
On the east I sate that day, up
There I sate beneath the tree, and the bell tolled solemnly,
Toll slowly. While the trees' and river's voices flowed between the solemn noises.
Yet death seemed more loud to
There I read this ancient rhyme, while the bell did all the time Toll slowly. And the solemn knell fell in with the tale of life and sin, Like a rhythmic fate sublime.
THE RHYME. Broad the forest stood (I read) on the hills of Linteged — Toll slowly. And three hundred years had stood mute adown each hoary wood, Like a full heart having prayed. And the little birds sang east, and the little birds sang west, Toll slowly. And but little thought was theirs, of the silent antique years, In the building of their nest.
Down the sun dropped large and red, on the towers of Linteged, Toll slowly. Lance and spear upon the height, bristling strange in fiery light, While the castle stood in shade.
Unto each she bowed her head, and swept past with lofty tread. Toll slowly. Ere the midnight-bell had ceased, in the chapel had the priest Blessed her, bride of Linteged.
Fast and fain the bridal train along the night-storm rode amain: Toll slowly. Hard the steeds of lord and serf struck their hoofs out on the turf, In the pauses of the rain.
Fast and fain the kinsmen's train along the storm pursued amainToll slowly. Steed on steed-track, dashing off thickening, doubling hoof on hoof,
In the pauses of the rain.
And the bridegroom led the flight | Cried aloud-"So goes the day,
on his red-roan steed of might, Toll slowly.
And the bride lay on his arm, still as if she feared no harm, Smiling out into the night.
"Dost thou fear?" he said at last;66 Nay!" she answered him in haste, Toll slowly.
"Not such death as we could find only life with one behindRide on fast as fear-ride fast!"
bridegroom fair of Duchess May!Toll slowly. Look thy last upon that sun.
thou seest to-morrow's one, 'Twill be through a foot of clay.
'Ha, fair bride! Dost hear no sound, save that moaning of the hound? Toll slowly. Thou and I have parted troth, — yet I keep my vengeance-oath, And the other may come round.
"O'er his fixed and silent mouth, thou and I will call back troth, Toll slowly. He shall altar be and priest, — and he will not cry at least 'I forbid you, I am loath!' "I will wring my fingers pale in the gauntlet of my mail. Toll slowly. 'Little hand and muckle gold' close shall lie within my hold, As the sword did, to prevail.”
Oh the little birds sang east, and the little birds sang west. Toll slowly. Oh, and laughed the Duchess May, and her soul did put away All his boasting, for a jest.
In her chamber did she sit, laughing low to think of it,
Toll slowly. "Tower is strong and will is freethou canst boast, my Lord of Leigh,
But thou boasteth little wit."