Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch

(21 November 1863 – 12 May 1944 / England)

As I Laye A-Dreamynge


After T. I.
As I laye a-dreamynge, a-dreamynge, a-dreamynge,
O softlye moaned the dove to her mate within the tree,
And meseemed unto my syghte
Came rydynge many a knyghte
All cased in armoure bryghte
Cap-a-pie,
As I laye a-dreamynge, a goodlye companye!
As I laye a-dreamynge, a-dreamynge, a-dreamynge,
O sadlye mourned the dove, callynge long and callynge lowe,
And meseemed of alle that hoste
Notte a face but was the ghoste
Of a friend that I hadde loste
Long agoe.
As I laye a-dreamynge, oh, bysson teare to flowe!
As I laye a-dreamynge, a-dreamynge, a-dreamynge,
O sadlye sobbed the dove as she seemed to despayre,
And laste upon the tracke
Came one I hayled as 'Jacke!'
But he turned mee his backe
With a stare:
As I laye a-dreamynge, he lefte mee callynge there.
Stille I laye a-dreamynge, a-dreamynge, a-dreamynge,
And gentler sobbed the dove as it eased her of her payne,
And meseemed a voyce yt cry'd—
'They shall ryde, and they shall ryde
'Tyll the truce of tyme and tyde
Come agayne!
Alle for Eldorado, yette never maye attayne!'
Stille I laye a-dreamynge, a-dreamynge, a-dreamynge,
And scarcelye moaned the dove, as her agonye was spente:
'Shalle to-morrowe see them nygher
To a golden walle or spyre?
You have better in yr fyre,
Bee contente.'
As I laye a-dreamynge, it seem'd smalle punyshment.
But I laye a-wakynge, and loe! the dawne was breakynge
And rarely pyped a larke for the promyse of the daye:
'Uppe and sette yr lance in reste!
Uppe and followe on the queste!
Leave the issue to be guessed
At the endynge of the waye'—
As I laye a-wakynge, 'twas soe she seemed to say—
'Whatte and if it alle be feynynge?
There be better thynges than gaynynge,
Rycher pryzes than attaynynge.'—
And 'twas truthe she seemed to saye.
Whyles the dawne was breakynge, I rode upon my waye.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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