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Poem by William Morris
The Son's Sorrow
FROM THE ICELANDIC. The King has asked of his son so good, “Why art thou hushed and heavy of mood? O fair it is to ride abroad. Thou playest not, and thou laughest not; All thy good game is clean forgot.” “Sit thou beside me, father dear, And the tale of my sorrow shalt thou hear. Thou sendedst me unto a far-off land, And gavest me into a good Earl’s hand. Now had this good Earl daughters seven, The fairest of maidens under heaven. One brought me my meat when I should dine, One cut and sewed my raiment fine. One washed and combed my yellow hair, And one I fell to loving there. Befell it on so fair a day, We minded us to sport and play. Down in a dale my horse bound I, Bound on my saddle speedily. Bright red she was as the flickering flame When to my saddle-bow she came. Beside my saddle-bow she stood, ‘To flee with thee to my heart were good.’ Kind was my horse and good to aid, My love upon his back I laid. We gat us from the garth away, And none was ware of us that day. But as we rode along the sand Behold a barge lay by the land. So in that boat did we depart, And rowed away right glad at heart. When we came to the dark wood and the shade To raise the tent my true-love bade. Three sons my true-love bore me there, And syne she died who was so dear. A grave I wrought her with my sword, With my fair shield the mould I poured. First in the mould I laid my love, Then all my sons her breast above. And I without must lie alone; So from the place I gat me gone.” No man now shall stand on his feet To love that love, to woo that sweet: O fair it is to ride abroad.
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