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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 20/175 -


By bows of hair, has a wave such As God was good to make for me. Beata mea Domina!

Not greatly long my lady's hair, Nor yet with yellow color fair, But thick and crisped wonderfully: Beata mea Domina!

Heavy to make the pale face sad, And dark, but dead as though it had Been forged by God most wonderfully Beata mea Domina!

Of some strange metal, thread by thread, To stand out from my lady's head, Not moving much to tangle me. Beata mea Domina!

Beneath her brows the lids fall slow, The lashes a clear shadow throw Where I would wish my lips to be. Beata mea Domina!

Her great eyes, standing far apart, Draw up some memory from her heart, And gaze out very mournfully; Beata mea Domina!

So beautiful and kind they are, But most times looking out afar, Waiting for something, not for me. Beata mea Domina!

I wonder if the lashes long Are those that do her bright eyes wrong, For always half tears seem to be Beata mea Domina!

Lurking below the underlid, Darkening the place where they lie hid: If they should rise and flow for me! Beata mea Domina!

Her full lips being made to kiss, Curled up and pensive each one is; This makes me faint to stand and see. Beata mea Domina!

Her lips are not contented now, Because the hours pass so slow Towards a sweet time: (pray for me), Beata mea Domina!

Nay, hold thy peace! for who can tell? But this at least I know full well, Her lips are parted longingly, Beata mea Domina!

So passionate and swift to move, To pluck at any flying love, That I grow faint to stand and see. Beata mea Domina!

Yea! there beneath them is her chin, So fine and round, it were a sin To feel no weaker when I see Beata mea Domina!

God's dealings; for with so much care And troublous, faint lines wrought in there, He finishes her face for me. Beata mea Domina!

Of her long neck what shall I say? What things about her body's sway, Like a knight's pennon or slim tree Beata mea Domina!

Set gently waving in the wind; Or her long hands that I may find On some day sweet to move o'er me? Beata mea Domina!

God pity me though, if I missed The telling, how along her wrist The veins creep, dying languidly Beata mea Domina!

Inside her tender palm and thin. Now give me pardon, dear, wherein My voice is weak and vexes thee. Beata mea Domina!

All men that see her any time, I charge you straightly in this rhyme, What, and wherever you may be, Beata mea Domina!

To kneel before her; as for me I choke and grow quite faint to see My lady moving graciously. Beata mea Domina!

William Morris [1834-1896]

MADONNA MIA

Under green apple boughs That never a storm will rouse, My lady hath her house Between two bowers; In either of the twain Red roses full of rain; She hath for bondwomen All kind of flowers.

She hath no handmaid fair To draw her curled gold hair Through rings of gold that bear Her whole hair's weight; She hath no maids to stand Gold-clothed on either hand; In all that great green land None is so great.

She hath no more to wear But one white hood of vair Drawn over eyes and hair, Wrought with strange gold, Made for some great queen's head, Some fair great queen since dead; And one strait gown of red Against the cold.

Beneath her eyelids deep Love lying seems asleep, Love, swift to wake, to weep, To laugh, to gaze; Her breasts are like white birds, And all her gracious words As water-grass to herds In the June-days.

To her all dews that fall And rains are musical; Her flowers are fed from all, Her joys from these; In the deep-feathered firs Their gift of joy is hers, In the least breath that stirs Across the trees.

She grows with greenest leaves, Ripens with reddest sheaves, Forgets, remembers, grieves, And is not sad; The quiet lands and skies Leave light upon her eyes; None knows her, weak or wise, Or tired or glad.

None knows, none understands, What flowers are like her hands; Though you should search all lands Wherein time grows, What snows are like her feet, Though his eyes burn with heat Through gazing on my sweet, - Yet no man knows.

Only this thing is said; That white and gold and red, God's three chief words, man's bread And oil and wine, Were given her for dowers, And kingdom of all hours, And grace of goodly flowers And various vine.

This is my lady's praise: God after many days Wrought her in unknown ways, In sunset lands; This is my lady's birth; God gave her might and mirth. And laid his whole sweet earth Between her hands.

Under deep apple boughs My lady hath her house; She wears upon her brows The flower thereof; All saying but what God saith To her is as vain breath; She is more strong than death, Being strong as love.

Algernon Charles Swinburne [1837-1909]


The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 20/175

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