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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
As I Laye A-Thynkynge
By Richard Harris Barham (Thomas Ingoldsby) (1788–1845)
 
The Last Lines of Barham

AS I laye a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge,
Merrie sang the Birde as she sat upon the spraye;
        There came a noble Knighte,
        With his hauberke shynynge brighte,
        And his gallant heart was lyghte,        5
                Free and gaye;
As I laye a-thynkynge, he rode upon his waye.
 
As I laye a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge,
Sadly sang the Birde as she sat upon the tree!
        There seemed a crimson plain,        10
        Where a gallant Knyghte lay slayne,
        And a steed with broken rein
                Ran free,
As I laye a-thynkynge, most pitiful to see!
 
As I laye a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge,        15
Merrie sang the Birde as she sat upon the boughe;
        A lovely mayde came bye,
        And a gentil youth was nyghe,
        And he breathed many a syghe,
                And a vowe;        20
As I laye a-thynkynge, her hearte was gladsome now.
 
As I laye a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge,
Sadly sang the Birde as she sat upon the thorne;
        No more a youth was there,
        But a Maiden rent her haire,        25
        And cried in sad despaire,
                “That I was borne!”
As I laye a-thynkynge, she perished forlorne.
 
As I laye a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge,
Sweetly sang the Birde as she sat upon the briar;        30
        There came a lovely childe,
        And his face was meek and milde,
        Yet joyously he smiled
                On his sire;
As I laye a-thynkynge, a Cherub mote admire.        35
 
But I laye a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge,
And sadly sang the Birde as it perched upon a bier;
        That joyous smile was gone,
        And the face was white and wan,
        As the downe upon the Swan        40
                Doth appear,
As I laye a-thynkynge,—oh! bitter flowed the tear!
 
As I laye a-thynkynge, the golden sun was sinking,
Oh, merrie sang that Birde, as it glittered on her breast
        With a thousand gorgeous dyes;        45
        While soaring to the skies,
        ’Mid the stars she seemed to rise,
                As to her nest;
As I laye a-thynkynge, her meaning was exprest:—
        “Follow, follow me away,        50
        It boots not to delay,”—
        ’Twas so she seemed to saye,
                “HERE IS REST!”
 
 
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