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Poem by Madison Julius Cawein


The Lady of the Hills


Though red my blood hath left its trail
For five far miles, I shall not fail,
As God in Heaven wills!
The way was long through that black land.
With sword on hip and horn in hand,
At last before thy walls I stand,
O Lady of the Hills!

No seneschal shall put to scorn
The summons of my bugle-horn!
No man-at-arms shall stay!
Yea! God hath helped my strength too far
By bandit-caverned wood and scar
To give it pause now, or to bar
My all-avenging way.

This hope still gives my body strength
To kiss her eyes and lips at length
Where all her kin can see;
Then 'mid her towers of crime and gloom,
Sin-haunted like the Halls of Doom,
To smite her dead in that wild room
Red-lit with revelry.

Madly I rode; nor once did slack.
Before my face the world rolled, black
With nightmare wind and rain.
Witch-lights mocked at me on the fen;
And through the forest followed then
Gaunt eyes of wolves; and ghosts of men
Moaned by me on the plain.

Still on I rode. My way was clear
From that wild time when, spear to spear,
Deep in the wind-torn wood,
I met him!... Dead he lies beneath
Their trysting oak. I clenched my teeth
And rode. My wound scarce let me breathe,
That filled my eyes with blood.

And here I am. The blood may blind
My eyesight now ... yet I shall find
Her by some inner eye!
For God, He hath this deed in care!
Yea! I shall kiss again her hair,
And tell her of her leman there,
Then smite her dead, and die.



Madison Julius Cawein


Madison Julius Cawein's other poems:
  1. The Dance of Summer
  2. Night and Rain
  3. The Rendezvous
  4. Elfin
  5. Processional


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