On Ne Badine Pas Avec La Mort

A poem by Arthur Sherburne Hardy


The dew was full of sun that morn
(Oh I heard the doves in the ladyricks coop!)
As he crossed the meadows beyond the corn,
Watching his falcon in the blue.
How could he hear my song so far,
The song of the blood where the pulses are!
Straight through the fields he came to me,
(Oh I saw his soul as I saw the dew!)
But I hid my joy that he might not see,
I hid it deep within my breast,
As the starling hides in the maize her nest.


Back through the corn he turned again,
(Oh little he cared where his falcon flew!)
And my heart lay still in the hand of pain,
As in winter's hand the rivers do.
How could he hear its secret cry,
The cry of the dove when the cummers die!
Thrice in the maize he turned to me,
(Oh I saw his soul as I saw the dew!)
But I hid my pain that he might not see
I hid it deep as the grave is made,
Where the heart that can ache no more is laid.


Last night, where grows the river grass,
(Oh the stream was dark though the moon was new!)
I saw white Death with my lover pass,
Side by side as the troopers so.
"Give me," said Death, "thy purse well-filled,
And thy mantle-clasp which the moonbeams gild;
Save the heart which beats for thy dear sake,"
(Oh I saw my heart as I saw the dew!)
"All life hath given is Death's to take."
Dear God! how can I love thy day
If thou takest the heart that loves away!

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