Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
November 28
Eleanor of Castile
          Eleanor of Castile was the wife of Edward I. of England, and accompanied him to the Holy Land and also to Scotland. She died on Nov. 28th, 1290, and her husband brought her body to be buried at Westminster Abbey. Wherever the cortege halted for the night a cross was raised to her memory and some of these crosses have been preserved until very lately. Charing Cross in London (Chère Reine), was one of these.

OH! fairer than vermilion
  Shed upon western skies,
Was the blush of that sweet Castilian
  With the deep brown eyes;
As her happy heart grew firmer        5
  In the strange bright days of yore,
When she heard young Edward murmur
  “I love thee Eleanor!”
They twain went forth together,
  Away o’er the Midland Main,        10
Through the golden summer weather,
  To Syria’s mystic plain.
Together, toil and danger
  And the loss of their loved ones bore,
And perils from Paynim, stranger        15
  Than death to Eleanor.
Where Lincoln’s towers of wonder
  Soar high o’er the vales of Trent,
Their lives were torn asunder,
  To her home the good queen went.        20
Her corse to the tomb he carried,
  With grief at his heart’s stern core,
And wherever at night they tarried,
  Rose a cross to Eleanor.
As ye trace a meteor’s onset        25
  By a line of silver rain,
As ye trace a royal sunset
  By streaks of a saffron stain,
So to the minster holy
  At the west of London’s roar,        30
Mark ye how sadly, slowly,
  Passed the corse of Eleanor.
Back to where lances quiver,
  Straight back, by tower and town,
By hill and wold and river,        35
  For the love of Scotland’s crown;
But ah! there is woe within him
  For the face he shall see no more;
And conquests can not win him
  From the love of Eleanor.        40
Years after, sternly dying
  In his tent by the Solway sea,
With the breezes of Scotland flying
  O’er the gray sands wild and free,
His dim thoughts sadly wander        45
  To the happy days of yore,
And he sees in the blue sky yonder
  The eyes of his Eleanor.
Time must destroy those crosses
  Raised by the poet king;        50
But as long as the blue sea tosses,
  As long as the skylarks sing;
As long as London’s river
  Glides stately down to the Nore,
Men shall remember ever        55
  How he loved Queen Eleanor.

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