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Poem by Wilfred Wilson Gibson


The Knight of the Wood


"I fear the Knight of the Wood," she said
"For him may no man overthrow.
Where boughs are matted thick oerhead,
There gleams, amid the shadows dread,
The terror of his armour red;
And all men fear him, high and low;
Yet all must through the forest go."

She paused awhile where larches flame
About the borders of the wood;
Then, crying loud on Loves high name
To keep her maiden-heart from shame,
She entered, and full-swiftly came
Where, hooded with a scarlet hood,
A rider in her pathway stood.

She saw the gleam of armour red;
She saw the fiery pennon wave
Its flaming terror overhead
Mid writhing boughs and shadows dread.
"Ah God," she cried: "that I were dead,
And laid for ever in my grave!"
Then, swooning, called on Love to save.

Among the springing fern she fell,
And very nigh to death she lay;
Till, like the fading of a spell
At ringing of the matin-bell,
The darkness left her; by a well
She waked beneath the open day,
And rose to go upon her way;

When, once again, the ruddy light
Of arms she saw, and turned to flee;
But clutching brambles stayed her flight;
While, marvelling, she saw the Knight
Unhooded; and his eyes were bright
With April colours of the sea;
And crowned as a King was he.

She knelt before him in the ferns,
And sang: "O Lord of Love, I bow
Before thy shield, where blazoned burns
The flaming heart with light that turns
The night to day.  O heart that yearns
For love, lo, Love before thee now--
The wild-wood knight with crownèd brow!"



Wilfred Wilson Gibson


Wilfred Wilson Gibson's other poems:
  1. The Parrots
  2. The Unknown Knight
  3. Retreat
  4. Breakfast
  5. Comrades


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