Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
XXIX. The Happy Dead
Minstrel’s Song in ‘Aella’
By Thomas Chatterton (1752–1770)
 
O SING unto my roundelay,
O drop the briny tear with me;
Dance no more at holyday,
Like a running river be:
    My love is dead,        5
    Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree.
 
Black his cryne as the winter night,
White his rode as the summer snow,
Red his face as the morning light,        10
Cold he lies in the grave below:
    My love is dead,
    Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree.
 
Sweet his tongue as the throstle’s note,        15
Quick in dance as thought can be,
Deft his tabor, cudgel stout;
O he lies by the willow-tree!
    My love is dead,
    Gone to his death-bed        20
All under the willow-tree.
 
Hark! the raven flaps his wing
In the brier’d dell below;
Hark! the death-owl loud doth sing
To the nightmares, as they go:        25
    My love is dead,
    Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree.
 
See! the white moon shines on high;
Whiter is my true-love’s shroud:        30
Whiter than the morning sky,
Whiter than the evening cloud:
    My love is dead,
    Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree.        35
 
Here upon my true-love’s grave
Shall the barren flowers be laid;
Not one holy saint to save
All the coldness of a maid:
    My love is dead,        40
    Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree.
 
With my hands I’ll dent the briers
Round his holy corse to gre:
Ouph and fairy, light your fires,        45
Here my body still shall be:
    My love is dead,
    Gone to his death-bed
All under the willow-tree….
 
Water witches crowned with wreaths        50
Bear me to your lethal tide.
I die! I come! my true love waits.—
Thus the damsel spake and died.
 
 
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