Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald
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   English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
451. Barthram’s Dirge
 
Robert Surtees (1779–1834)
 
 
THEY shot him dead on the Nine-Stone rig,
  Beside the Headless Cross,
And they left him lying in his blood,
  Upon the moor and moss.
 
They made a bier of the broken bough,        5
  The sauch and the aspen grey,
And they bore him to the Lady Chapel,
  And waked him there all day.
 
A lady came to that lonely bower
  And threw her robes aside,        10
She tore her long yellow hair,
  And knelt at Barthram’s side.
 
She bath’d him in the Lady-Well
  His wounds so deep and sair,
And she plaited a garland for his breast,        15
  And a garland for his hair.
 
They rowed him in a lily sheet,
  And bare him to his earth,
(And the Grey Friars sung the dead man’s mass,
  As they passed the Chapel Garth).        20
 
They buried him at the midnight,
  (When the dew fell cold and still,
When the aspen grey forgot to play,
  And the mist clung to the hill).
 
They dug his grave but a bare foot deep,        25
  By the edge of the Nine-Stone Burn,
And they covered him o’er with the heather-flower,
  The moss and the Lady fern.
 
A Grey Friar staid upon the grave,
  And sang till the morning tide,        30
And a friar shall sing for Barthram’s soul,
  While Headless Cross shall bide.
 

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