Among the kerseys blue; and
“Who is it, Babette, with lifted head,
“And the startled look,
possessed and strange,
Under the paint—secure from change?”
“Ah, ’Sieur Jean,
do ye not ken
Of the eerie folk of Bareau Fen?”
I blenched, and she knew too
well I wist
The fearsome fate of the goblin tryst.
“The street is a cruel
home, ’Sieur Jean,
But a weird uncanny drives her on.
“’Tis a bitter
tale for Christian folk,
How once she dreamed, and how she woke.”
“Ay, ay!” I passed
and reached the spring
Where the poplars kept their whispering,
Hid for an hour in the shade,
In the rank marsh grass of a tiny glade.
There crossed the moor from
the town afar,
In kirtle of white and cinnabar,
A wanderer on that plain of
Bowed with a burden not of the years,
As one that goeth sorrowing
For many an unforgotten thing.
To the crystal well as the
sun drew low
There came that harridan of woe.
She stooped to drink; I heard
“Ah, God, how tired out am I!
“I called him by the
A girl may call; I have my shame.
“‘Yet death is
crueller than life,’
Once they said, ‘for all the strife.’
“And so I lived; but
the wild will,
Broken and bitter, drives to ill.
“And now I know, what
no one saith,
That love is crueller than death.
“How I did love him!
Is love too high,
My God, for such lost folk as I?”
Her tears went down to the
grass by the well,
In that passion of grief, and where they fell
Windflowers trembled pale
A craven I crept away from the sight;
And turned me home to St.
Where the sunflowers burn by the eastern wall.
The vesper frankincense that
Rose to the rafters and melted away,
And was no more than a cloud
Among the spires of Norway firs.
And I said, “The holy
Of the hoary crypt and the wild green wood
“Are one to the God
I have never known,
Whose kingdom has neither bourn nor throne.”
Now I am old, and the years
But I know, I know, there will come a day,—
When April is over the Norland
And the loosened brooks from the hills go down,
When tears have quenched the
sorrow of time,—
Wherein the earth shall rebuild her prime,
And the houses of dark be
When the goblin maids shall love their own,—
Their arms forever unlaced
from their hold
Of the earls of the sea on that alien wold,—