Alfred Noyes

(16 September 1880 – 25 June 1958 / Wolverhamton)

Dead Man's Morrice


There came a crowder to the Mermaid Inn,
One dark May night,
Fiddling a tune that quelled our motley din,
With quaint delight,
It haunts me yet, as old lost airs will do,
A phantom strain:
_Look for me once, lest I should look for you,
And look in vain._

In that old wood, where ghosts of lovers walk,
At fall of day,
Gleaning such fragments of their ancient talk
As poor ghosts may,
From leaves that brushed their faces, wet with dew,
Or tears, or rain,...
_Look for me once, lest I should look for you,
And look in vain._

Have we not seen them--pale forgotten shades
That do return,
Groping for those dim paths, those fragrant glades,
Those nooks of fern,
Only to find that, of the may they knew,
No wraiths remain;
_Yet they still look, as I should look for you,
And look in vain._

They see those happier ghosts that waned away--
Whither, who knows?--
Ghosts that come back with music and the may,
And Spring's first rose,
Lover and lass, to sing the old burden through,
Stave and refrain:
_Look for me once, lest I should look for you,
And look in vain._

So, after death, if in that starless deep,
I lose your eyes,
I'll haunt familiar places. I'll not keep
Tryst in the skies.
I'll haunt the whispering elms that found us true,
The old grass-grown lane.
_Look for me there, lest I should look for you,
And look in vain._

There, as of old, under the dreaming moon,
A phantom throng
Floats through the fern, to a ghostly morrice tune,
A thin sweet song,
Hands link with hands, eyes drown in eyes anew,
Lips meet again....
_Look for me, once, lest I should look for you,
And look in vain._

Submitted: Tuesday, April 06, 2010

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