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The Return of the Dead and Other Ballads   By: (1859-1937)

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THE RETURN OF THE DEAD AND OTHER BALLADS

BY GEORGE BORROW

LONDON: PRINTED FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION 1913

THE RETURN OF THE DEAD

Swayne Dyring o’er to the island strayed; And were I only young again ! He wedded there a lovely maid— To honied words we list so fain .

Together they lived seven years and more; And were I only young again ! And seven fair babes to him she bore— To honied words we list so fain .

Then death arrived in luckless hour; And were I only young again ! Then died the lovely lily flower— To honied words we list so fain .

The Swayne he has crossed the salt sea way, And were I only young again ! And he has wedded another may— To honied words we list so fain .

And he that may to his home has brought; And were I only young again ! But peevish was she, and with malice fraught— To honied words we list so fain .

And when she came to the castle gate, And were I only young again ! The seven children beside it wait— To honied words we list so fain .

The children stood in sorrowful mood, And were I only young again ! She spurned them away with her foot so rude— To honied words we list so fain .

Nor bread nor meat will she bestow; And were I only young again ! Said “Hate ye shall have and the hunger throe”— To honied words we list so fain .

She took away the bolsters blue; And were I only young again ! “Bare straw will serve for the like of you”— To honied words we list so fain .

Away she’s ta’en the big wax light; And were I only young again ! Said she “Ye shall lie in the murky night”— To honied words we list so fain .

The babies at night with hunger weep; And were I only young again ! The woman heard that in the grave so deep— To honied words we list so fain .

To God’s high throne such haste she made; And were I only young again ! “O I must go to my babies’ aid”— To honied words we list so fain .

She begged so loud, and she begged so long, And were I only young again ! That at length consent from her God she wrung— To honied words we list so fain .

“But thou must return when the cock shall crow, And were I only young again ! “No longer tarry must thou below”— To honied words we list so fain .

Then up she struck with her stark thigh bone, And were I only young again ! And burst through wall and marble stone— To honied words we list so fain .

And when to the dwelling she drew nigh, And were I only young again ! The hounds they yelled to the clouds so high— To honied words we list so fain .

And when to the castle gate she won, And were I only young again ! Her eldest daughter stood there alone— To honied words we list so fain .

“Hail daughter mine, what dost thou here? And were I only young again ! How fare thy brothers and sisters dear?”— To honied words we list so fain .

“O dame thou art no mother of mine, And were I only young again ! For she was a lady fair and fine— To honied words we list so fain .

“A lady fine with cheeks so red, And were I only young again ! But thou art pale as the sheeted dead”— To honied words we list so fain .

“O how should I be fine and sleek? And were I only young again ! How else than pale should be my cheek?— To honied words we list so fain .

“And how should I be white and red? And were I only young again ! Beneath the mould I’ve long been dead”— To honied words we list so fain .

And when she entered the high, high hall, And were I only young again ! Drowned with tears stood the babies all— To honied words we list so fain .

The one she combed, the other she brushed, And were I only young again ! The third she dandled, the fourth she hushed— To honied words we list so fain ... Continue reading book >>




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