Ballads of Lost Haven eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 31 pages of information about Ballads of Lost Haven.

    The sun goes round; and Bareau Fen
    Is a door of earth on the Kelpie men,—­

    Buried at dawn, asleep, unslain,
    With not a mound on the sunny plain,

    Hard by the walls of calm Rochelle,
    Row on row by the crystal well.

    And never again they are free to ride
    Through all the years on the tossing tide,

    Barred from the breast of the barren foam,
    Where the heart within them is yearning home,—­

    For one long drench of the surf to quell
    The cursing doom of the goblin spell.

    Only, when bugling snows alight
    To smother the marshes stark and white,

    Or a low red moon peers over the rim
    Of a winter twilight crisp and dim,

    With a sound of drift on the buried lands,
    The goblin maidens loose their hands;

    A wind comes down from the sheer blue North;
    And the Kelpie riders get them forth.

III

    Twice have I been on Bareau Fen,
    But the son of my son is a man since then.

    Once as a lad I used to bear
    St. Louis’ cross through the chapel square,

    Leading the choristers’ surpliced file
    Slow up the dusk Cathedral aisle.

    I was the boy of all Rochelle
    The pure old father trusted well.

    But one clear night in the winter’s heart,
    I wandered out to that place apart.

    The shafts of smoke went up to the stars,
    Straight as the Northern Streamer spars,

    From the town’s white roofs, so still it was. 
    The night in her dream let no word pass,

    Nor ever a breath that one could feel;
    Only the snow shrieked under my heel.

    Yet it seemed when I reached the poplar hole,
    The ghost of a voice was crying, “Skoal!

    “Rouse thee and drink, for the well is sweet,
    And the crystal snow is good to eat!”

    I heeded little, but stooped on my knee,
    And ate of a handful dreamily.

    ’Twas cool to the mouth and slaking at first,
    But the lure of it was ill for thirst.

    The voice cried, “Soul of the mortal span,
    Art thou not of the Kelpie clan?”

    “What are you doing there in the ground,
    Kelpie rider, and never a sound

    “To roam the night but the ghost of a cry?”
    Ringing and swift there came reply,

    “He is asleep where thou art afraid,
    In the tawny arms of a goblin maid!”

    Then I knew the voice was the voice of a girl,
    And I marvelled much (while a little swirl

    Of snow leaped up far off on the plain
    Of sparkling dust and died again),

    For what do the cloisters know, think ye,
    Of women’s ways?  They be hard to see.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Ballads of Lost Haven from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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