The Shield.

A poem by Thomas Moore

Say, did you not hear a voice of death!
And did you not mark the paly form
Which rode on the silvery mist of the heath,
And sung a ghostly dirge in the storm?

Was it the wailing bird of the gloom,
That shrieks on the house of woe all night?
Or a shivering fiend that flew to a tomb,
To howl and to feed till the glance of light?

'Twas not the death-bird's cry from the wood,
Nor shivering fiend that hung on the blast;
'Twas the shade of Helderic--man of blood--
It screams for the guilt of days that are past.

See, how the red, red lightning strays,
And scares the gliding ghosts of the heath!
Now on the leafless yew it plays,
Where hangs the shield of this son of death.

That shield is blushing with murderous stains;
Long has it hung from the cold yew's spray;
It is blown by storms and washed by rains,
But neither can take the blood away!

Oft by that yew, on the blasted field,
Demons dance to the red moon's light;
While the damp boughs creak, and the swinging shield
Sings to the raving spirit of night!

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