Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
IX. The Sadness of It
The Young Girl
By Andrew Macphail (1864–1938)
 
From Hélène Vacaresco’s ‘Le Rhapsode de la Dimbovita’

DEAD: she is dead.
The glory of the day is done.
Who now will go at early morn
To wake the echoes in the sonorous well?
Who will reply with song at even        5
Unto the plaintive voices of the sheep?
Or who will send clear laughter ringing
Adown the pathways steep?
Who now will set the spindle bounding,
And catch it as it flies?        10
 
It was for her that shone the sun:
Better, O God, that his light were quenched!
For her the corn was decked with golden hair:
Better it were to strip from the corn his golden hair!
’Twas she the falling stars besought by night.        15
 
And now the Earth will take her.
When she tripped by the fresh-turned furrows,
The Earth said to her: Fair maid,
How eagerly I yearn for you,
To sleep within my heart,        20
Where all roots quicken.
I yield so many flowers for the plain,
Flowers that gleam in the full light of day,
I crave a flower for myself alone,
A flower that I may cherish,        25
A flower to gladden me.
  And the Earth has taken her
And holds her in his arms.
  Yet the young girl replied to the Earth:
Good fresh Earth, beseech you, take me not.        30
Gather me not in your arms.
The quickening seeds must suffice you,
And the light step of lovers.
Good fresh Earth, I desire not your embrace.
I wish to veil my head,        35
To be a wife, a woman strong for toil;
To give my virgin warmth,
And breed strong youths
To cultivate the soil.
Good fresh Earth, take me not.        40
But the Earth has taken her.
The Earth holds her in his arms.
The Earth will never relent.
 
Dead: she is dead
Who now will go at early morn        45
To wake the echoes in the sonorous well?
Who will reply with song at even
Unto the plaintive voices of the sheep?
Or who will send clear laughter ringing
Adown the pathways steep?        50
  Dead. She is dead.
 
 
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