The Palmer’s Tale.

Far in the purple time, e’er pain1
Had yet commenced her ancient reign2
That time which never comes again3
I met a Palmer on the way,4
Oh, wretched youth, in evil day5
I find thee, ” cried that pilgrim grey.6
Thy love is dead : upon her lie7
The snowy cerements, round her cry8
The weeping crowd ; I saw her die.9
A thousand knights without compare,10
A thousand maidens call her fair,11
A thousand lilies deck her hair.12
Her golden hair with halo crown’d —”13
I heard, and fell upon the ground ,14
And saw no sight and heard no sound.15
Then, where she lay, I came and cried,16
Oh ! dearest dear, here let me bide,17
Here sleep for ever by thy side.”18
A voice came from the little hill19
Of earth, “ O love, be constant still,20
Such is the pleasure of my will.21
Go, gather glory in the right :22
A soul that dwells in love and light23
Shall watch thee in the darkest night ;24
And like a bird upon her nest25
Shall brood above thee in thy rest,26
And at the last shall make thee blest.”27