THE TALE OF PER BAUD
We came by a hill and we rested a while
And I placed in her hand, a daffodil,
That fell from her hair and made her smile,
And tender hearts grew warmer still.
I brushed from her cheek, a single tear:
No tears should stain thy cheek my dear,
For though this life can never fill
Our hearts as much as love’s sweet song,
Still, sadness in our hearts is wrong.
The clouds grew grey yet could not stir
Or teat my gaze from my love there;
No force thrown upon me or her
Could part our delicate passions, fair!
So we kissed and felt the noon sky shake;
Shake with supernatural strength to break
Two souls apart, on a hillside, where
Heaven’s wroth was wrought on mortal love,
A love no god should be jealous of!
Then through the silent woods there blew
A distant sound that shaped the trees
In a silhouette of menace, that grew
To thunderous heights of great unease!
No longer the sleepy, haunted hush,
For now the woods were a terrible rush
Of vistas, long, where raced the breeze
From winding hollows and turned-up clumps,
Half-shaded by the mammoth stumps!
Then we were caught within its sweep
That clambered from the darkling woods;
The horror was fast upon us, deep,
That circled us in a spiral flood
Of dry leaves in their rising and falling,
And the roar was as some demon calling…
Twisting and turning, yet we stood
Till the force had thrown us to the ground,
And still those leaves, possessed, danced round!
She stretched out her hand but the wind blew hard
And she closed her eyes as the wind swept past;
I held my hands out as if to guard
My sweet child’s face from nature’s blast:
Take my hand, no law shall part,
Not god’s or nature’s from my heart;
The tempest must soon breathe its last
And our love proved stronger than she,
‘Twill soon seek a new enemy!
Then a fiery wind tore into my breast
And our hands parted from each others grasp,
As we both tumbled from our dread unrest:
The might of the gale had broken our clasp!
My head hung low and my eyes were shut tight,
Yet I wanted to look up and see the sight
Of my love nearby as I heard her gasp:
I wanted to reach out and pull her near
But the wailing wind was shrill and drear!
O when will it cease! I cried aloud
As it seemed like centuries rushing by –
Then calm – and my eyes met the leafy shroud
Trimmed with lace that lay nearby!
I clutched it close to my sad heart
And screamed out: O where art? Where art?
My love! Where art thou? Yet no cry
From my lady’s lips came back,
As I looked up to the heavens, blank!
My horse had fled and left me there
So I walked the woods that trailed the hill,
And nothing could change my course or dare,
For courage had strong hold on my will!
Eternity, it seemed, I was alone
Not knowing where my love had gone.
Above my head, the clouds were still,
And tears fell soft upon the ground
As my dying heart made no sound!
I came to a clearing where a farmer stood,
Resting on his hay carts wheel,
Gathering bundles of coppice wood,
I decided to ask him, surely he’ll
Know where my sweet maid has gone
And where her beauty walks alone!
He will know, he must, I feel
He must have seen her come or go;
He must know something, he must know…
Have you seen good sir, a lady fair
Wandering about this stunted isle?
She wears the night time for her hair
And the day time for her smile!
She is a whisper framed in white
That like a feather in its flight,
Softly, slowly falls a while
And comes to rest most beautifully
As if wings had set her down gently.
She was blown upon the evening stream
With the moon upon her face,
Like a lily on the water, green,
She came unto this haunted place…
And there by the love she showed to me
Sang songs of life’s long ancestry…
Have you seen this queen, serene?
My love is measureless, for see
I offer up the world to thee!
And on his face I saw a smile
And his deep and withered looks seemed cold;
Something I had not seen while
My tale was being told.
I implored him again, yet he turned away
And I said: Good sir, I am willing to pay
For knowledge in kindness or in gold,
For you see, I must know where she lies
And forlorn, is wretched with sad sighs!
I fear you are fooled sir, or maybe playing
Games with old Ted, for here, ye look –
The lass you long to is this day laying
In yonder churchyard… the river took
That sweet young thing to her funeral chamber,
‘Twas sixteen years now I remember,
I’ll ne’er forget for I had to hook
The sweet thing from the river’s woe –
Such a pretty lass to taste its flow!
I fear you’re mistaken, this very morn
And all night last we talked and sat
And slept by firelight until dawn!
We ran and laughed as sure as that
I am beside you. Dreamt she of distant lands,
Of golden spires and silver sands!
Yet the clouds grew black and feared what
Love between us was stronger than
All the earthliness of man!
Yes, turned sad on us, to see us love,
And blackness raged as the wind blew
Its wicked way in hope to move
Two souls whose love had eager, grew!
Then from my arms she was took
And as I opened my eyes to look,
I saw her not, and fled into
These woods in hope of finding where
My maiden lies both foul and fair!
The girl, her name was Catherine
And she lies near yonder church,
Beneath a stone in a box of pine,
Under the shade of a birch
That shapes its shadows in the night –
Sometimes a glimpse of casket white
Is seen in some tireless vain search
To find the one she did adore;
To rest in peace for evermore!