Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
 
Miscellaneous
The Ballad of Eleänore
Mortimer Collins (1827–1876)
 
          We need hardly remind our readers of the Crosses erected by King Edward I. wherever his wife’s corpse stopped on its way to interment at Westminster.

O, FAIRER than vermilion
  Shed upon western skies
Was the blush of that sweet Castilian
  Girl, with the deep brown eyes,
As her happy heart grew firmer,        5
  In the strange bright days of yore,
When she heard young Edward murmur,
  “I love thee, Eleänore!”
 
Sweeter than musical cadence
  Of the wind mid cedar and lime        10
Is love to a timorous maiden’s
  Heart, in the fresh spring-time;
Sweeter than waves that mutter
  And break on a sinuous shore,
Are the songs her fancies utter        15
  To brown-eyed Eleänore.
 
They twain went forth together
  Away o’er the Midland Main,
Through the golden summer weather
  To Syria’s mystic plain.        20
Together, toil and danger
  And the death of their loved ones bore,
And perils from Paynim, stranger
  Than death to Eleänore.
 
Where Lincoln’s towers of wonder        25
  Soar high o’er the vale of Trent,
Their lives were torn asunder;
  To her home the good Queen went.
Her corse to the tomb he carried,
  With grief at his heart’s stern core;        30
And where’er at night they tarried
  Rose a cross to Eleänore.
 
As ye trace a meteor’s onset
  By a line of silver rain,
As ye trace a regal sunset        35
  By streaks of a saffron stain,
So to the minster holy
  At the west of London’s roar
May ye mark how, sadly, slowly,
  Passed the corse of Eleänore.        40
 
Back to where lances quiver,—
  Straight back, by tower and town,
By hill and wold and river,—
  For the love of Scotland’s crown.
But ah! there is woe within him        45
  For the face he shall see no more;
And conquest cannot win him
  From the love of Eleänore.
 
Years after, sternly dying
  In his tent by the Solway sea,        50
With the breezes of Scotland flying
  O’er the wild sands, wide and free,
His dim thoughts sadly wander
  To the happy days of yore,
And he sees, in the gray sky yonder,        55
  The eyes of his Eleänore.
 
Time must destroy those crosses
  Raised by the Poet-King;
But as long as the blue sea tosses,
  As long as the skylarks sing,        60
As long as London’s river
  Glides stately down to the Nore,
Men shall remember ever
  How he loved Queen Eleänore.
 
 
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