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The Brother Avenged and Other Ballads   By: (1859-1937)

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THE BROTHER AVENGED AND OTHER BALLADS

BY GEORGE BORROW

LONDON: PRINTED FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION

1913

Copyright in the United States of America by Houghton Mifflin & Co. for Clement Shorter .

THE BROTHER AVENGED

I stood before my master’s board, The skinker’s office plying; The herald men brought tidings then That my brother was murdered lying.

I followed my lord unto his bed, By his dearest down he laid him; Then my courser out of the stall I led, And with saddle and bit arrayed him.

I sprang upon my courser’s back, With the spur began to goad him; And ere I drew his bridle to, Full fifteen leagues I rode him.

And when I came to the noisy hall Where the Kemps carouse were keeping, O then I saw my mother dear O’er the corse of my brother weeping.

Then I laid an arrow on my good bow, The bow that never deceived me; And straight I shot the King’s Kempions twelve, Of my brother who had bereaved me.

And then to the Ting I rode away, Where the judges twelve were seated; Of six to avenge my brother I begged, And of six protection entreated.

For the third time rode I to the Ting, For deep revenge I lusted; Up stood the liege man of the King, And at me fiercely thrusted.

Up stood the liege man of the King, With a furious thrust toward me; And the Judges twelve rose in the Ting, And an outlaw’d man declared me.

Then I laid an arrow on my good bow, And the bow to its utmost bent I; And into the heart of the King’s liege man The sharp, sharp arrow sent I.

Then away from the Ting amain I sped, And my good steed clomb in hurry; There was nothing for me but to hasten and flee, And myself ’mong the woods to bury.

And hidden for eight long years I lay Amid the woods so lonely; I’d nothing to eat in that dark retreat But grass and green leaves only.

I’d nothing to eat in that dark retreat, Save the grass and leaves I devoured; No bed fellows crept to the place where I slept, But bears that brooned and roared.

So near at hand was the holy tide Of our Lady of mercies tender; The King of the Swedes his followers leads, And rides to the Church in splendour.

So I laid an arrow on my good bow, As I looked from the gap so narrow; And into the heart of the Swedish King I sent the yard long arrow.

Now lies on the ground the Swedish King, And the blood from his death wound showers; So blythe is my breast, though still I must rest Amid the forest bowers.

THE EYES

To kiss a pair of red lips small Full many a lover sighs; If I kiss anything at all, Let it be Sophy’s eyes. The eyes, the eyes, whose witcheries Have filled my heart with care; Too dear I prize the eyes, the eyes Of Sophy Ribeaupierre.

Were I the Czar, my kingly crown, My troops and victories, And fair renown I’d all lay down To kiss but Sophy’s eyes. The charming eyes, whose witcheries Have filled my heart with care; Too dear I prize the charming eyes Of Sophy Ribeaupierre.

Perhaps I’ve seen a fairer face, Though hers may well surprise; A form perhaps of lovelier grace, But, oh! the eyes, the eyes! The matchless eyes, whose witcheries Have filled my heart with care; I well may prize the matchless eyes Of Sophy Ribeaupierre.

What with the polished diamond stone Can vie beneath the skies? Oh, it is vied and far outshone By Sophy’s beaming eyes. By Sophy’s eyes, whose witcheries Have filled my heart with care; Well may I prize the beaming eyes Of Sophy Ribeaupierre.

The sun of June burns furiously, And brooks and meadows dries; But, oh, with more intensity Burn cruel Sophy’s eyes! The wicked eyes, whose witcheries Have filled my heart with care; Too dear I prize the wicked eyes Of Sophy Ribeaupierre... Continue reading book >>




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