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Robert Stephen Hawker (Роберт Хоукер)

Annot of Benallay

AT lone midnight the death-bell tolled,
  To summon Annot’s clay:
For common eyes must not behold
  The griefs of Benallay.

Meek daughter of a haughty line,
  Was Lady Annot born:
That light which was not long to shine,
  The sun that set at morn.

They shrouded her in maiden white,
  They buried her in pall;
And the ring he gave her faith to plight
  Shines on her finger small.

The curate reads the dead man’s prayer
  The silent leech stands by:
The sob of voiceless love is there,
  And sorrow’s vacant eye.

’T is over. Two and two they tread
  The churchyard’s homeward way:
Farewell! farewell! thou lovely dead:
  Thou Flower of Benallay.

The sexton stalks with tottering limb
  Along the chancel floor:
He waits, that old man gray and grim,
  To close the narrow door.

“Shame! shame! these rings of stones and gold!”
  The ghastly caitiff said;
“Better that living hands should hold,
  Than glisten on the dead.”

The evil wish wrought evil deed,
  The pall is rent away:
And lo! beneath the shattered lid,
  The Flower of Benallay.

But life gleams from those opening eyes,
  Blood thrills that lifted hand:
And awful words are in her cries,
  Which none may understand.

Joy! ’t is the miracle of yore,
  Of the city calléd Nain:—
Lo! glad feet throng the sculptured floor,
  To hail their dead again.

Joy in the hall of Benallay,
  A stately feast is spread:
Lord Harold is the bridegroom gay,
  The bride the arisen dead.

Robert Stephen Hawker's other poems:
  1. The Ringers of Lancell’s Tower
  2. The Cell
  3. The Well of St. John
  4. The Death-Race
  5. Mawgan of Melhuach

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