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Poem by Eleanor Farjeon

The Dance-Ring

It was the middle of the spring
I saw three girls dance in a ring.

One was golden as the day,
Around her neck bright tresses lay.

One as hazel-nuts was brown
And to her feet her hair fell down.

One was black as midnight sky,
Her locks were like a crown piled high.

"Sweetings, shall I with ye fling?
It is the middle of the spring."

I heard the three together sing:
"No man shall break our dancing-ring."

"Sweetings, that ye cannot tell--
Unkind sweetings, fare ye well."

Then each a mocking kiss did blow:
"Give us presents ere you go."

"You that the morning-glow outvie
For all my gift shall take a sigh.

To you that like the ebbing year
In russet go I give a tear.

With you that seem of night to weave
Your grace a broken heart I leave."

Then as from them I turned my feet
I listened how they laughèd sweet:

And "Fare you well," their laughter ran,
"Broken-hearted gentleman."

But shoulder-over I did call:
"Dance on, ye scornful sweetings all.

"When I am lost in shadows grey
My gifts ye shall not fling away.

"While still the spring beneath your feet
Flows green your ring shall stand complete.

"But when the year begins to turn
My gifts to use ye well shall learn.

"And one shall sigh and one shall weep
And one shall crave eternal sleep."

It was the middle of the spring
I saw three girls dance in a ring.

One was a yellow rose new-blown,
One as hazel-nuts was brown,
One she wore a midnight crown.

(My heart is still a-hungering.)

Eleanor Farjeon

Eleanor Farjeon's other poems:
  1. When You Say
  2. Sonnets. 11. A few of us who faltered as we fared
  3. Sonnets. 14. Now I have love again and life again
  4. Three Miles to Penn
  5. Revolt

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