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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Idyll
By Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804–1877)
 
Translation of Eiríkr Magnússon and Edward Henry Palmer

HOME the maid came from her lover’s meeting,
Came with reddened hands. The mother questioned,
“Wherewith have thy hands got reddened, Maiden?”
Said the maiden, “I have plucked some roses,
And upon the thorns my hands have wounded.”        5
 
She again came from her lover’s meeting,
Came with crimson lips. The mother questioned,
“Wherewith have thy lips got crimson, Maiden?”
Said the maiden, “I have eaten strawberries,
And my lips I with their juice have painted.”        10
 
She again came from her lover’s meeting,
Came with pallid cheeks. The mother questioned,
“Wherewith are thy cheeks so pallid, Maiden?”
Said the maiden, “Make a grave, O mother!
Hide me there, and place a cross thereover,        15
And cut on the cross what now I tell thee:—
 
“‘Once she came home, and her hands were reddened,
For betwixt her lover’s hands they reddened.
Once she came home, and her lips were crimson,
’Neath her lover’s lips they had grown crimson.        20
Last she came home, and her cheeks were pallid,
For they blanched beneath her lover’s treason.’”
 
 
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