THE LAY OF THE LADY
She held his hands, she held his head,
“Sir, please don’t go, please stay with me”
He kissed her hands, her head and said
“Within a year I’m back, you’ll see.”
A teardrop slowly left her eye
And found its way across her cheek
More teardrops fell when she said “I
Will follow when it’s Death you seek.”
“I seek Queprur? You know, my love
That duty binds me to this war.
But please ask Armeros above
That you will see me from afar
When I return from battles won
With bags of gold, my armour sold
To live with you and you will run
To greet me! Now, release your hold.”
He gently took her hands and kissed
Her fingers and her lips. One tear
Did leave his eye: he too would miss
His newly wed, his love, his dear.
Thus as they held their heads so near
And felt their hearts beating as one
Upon her cheek he left his tear
A final kiss; then he was gone.
So all that she had left of him
As he rode o’er the path down south
And went over the mountain’s rim
Was this small tear that passed her mouth
And with the other tears streamed from
Her neck towards her bosom where
From cold or desperation some
Did freeze upon those two flanks fair.
And long after she’d lost the sight
Of him did she remain up there
Till cold and darkness forced her flight
While she bade Armeros to care
For him “Whose braveness, strength and wit
Would surely save his skin,” she said
“But gods might disagree.” and lit
A candle to amend for that.
And as she looked into the flame
The little warmth reached to her breast
To melt the fear away. His name
She spoke when she lay down to rest.
So each night when she went to sleep
She lit a little candle so
That he might live in Arm’ros keep
And fell asleep by candle’s glow
Then one night she woke up and saw
That only starlight filled the room
The flame was gone. A sudden flaw
Of wind had heralded her doom.
The darkness and the cold now clawed
Together at her heart and she
Who put her fate in flames was gnawed
By cold and dark anxiety
And as the light of morning came
Her heart was icy-cold. No fear
Was left, nor did she speak his name,
Nor did she shed a single tear.
She only followed the same road
That he had taken when he went
Away. The noise ahead forebode
The truth that nightly wind had sent.
She never reached the market square
Where widows new and old alike
Were weaping for their fate unfair
She only gazed down from a pike
And saw the cart with bodies filled
She recognized the armour which
She would not sell. His blood was spilled,
Queprur had hungered for his lich.
Within a year he had returned
But she would not run down to him
Instead she turned, ran back and burned
Their house and threw herself therein.
Or maybe she went to the top
Of the White Lady mountain where
Beneath its flanks her life did stop
And did she find her lover there.
And every spring the mountain cries
Fresh tears from frozen waterfalls
Just like a flame, before it lies
And is put out by sudden flaws.
And if you venture past the tears
Of hope and up the mountain side
You might feel that the Lady nears
Or see her if she does not hide…