William Morris

(1834 - 1896 / England)

Agnes And The Hill-Man


TRANSLATED FROM THE DANISH.

Agnes went through the meadows a-weeping,
Fowl are a-singing.
There stood the hill-man heed thereof keeping.
Agnes, fair Agnes!
“Come to the hill, fair Agnes, with me,
The reddest of gold will I give unto thee!”

Twice went Agnes the hill round about,
Then wended within, left the fair world without.

In the hillside bode Agnes, three years thrice told o’er,
For the green earth sithence fell she longing full sore.

There she sat, and lullaby sang in her singing,
And she heard how the bells of England were ringing.

Agnes before her true-love did stand:
“May I wend to the church of the English Land?”

“To England’s Church well mayst thou be gone,
So that no hand thou lay the red gold upon.

“So that when thou art come the churchyard anear
Thou cast not abroad thy golden hair.

“So that when thou standest the church within
To thy mother on bench thou never win.

“So that when thou hearest the high God’s name,
No knee unto earth thou bow to the same.”

Hand she laid on all gold that was there,
And cast abroad her golden hair.

And when the church she stood within
To her mother on bench straight did she win.

And when she heard the high God’s name,
Knee unto earth she bowed to the same.

When all the mass was sung to its end
Home with her mother dear did she wend.

“Come, Agnes, into the hillside to me,
For thy seven small sons greet sorely for thee!”

“Let them greet, let them greet, as they have will to do;
For never again will I hearken thereto!”

Weird laid he on her, sore sickness he wrought,
Fowl are a-singing.
That self-same hour to death was she brought.
Agnes, fair Agnes!

Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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