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Early Death

The Poems of Elizabeth Siddal

Early Death

Oh grieve not with thy bitter tears
The life that passes fast;
The gates of heaven will open wide
And take me in at last.

Then sit down meekly at my side
And watch my young life flee;
Then solemn peace of holy death
Come quickly unto thee.

But true love, seek me in the throng
Of spirits floating past,
And I will take thee by the hands
And know thee mine at last.

Dead Love

The Poems of Elizabeth Siddal

Dead Love

Oh never weep for love that’s dead
Since love is seldom true
But changes his fashion from blue to red,
From brightest red to blue,
And love was born to an early death
And is so seldom true.

Then harbour no smile on your bonny face
To win the deepest sigh.
The fairest words on truest lips
Pass on and surely die,
And you will stand alone, my dear,
When wintry winds draw nigh.

Sweet, never weep for what cannot be,
For this God has not given.
If the merest dream of love were true
Then, sweet, we should be in heaven,
And this is only earth, my dear,
Where true love is not given.

At Last

The Poems of Elizabeth Siddal

At Last

O mother, open the window wide
And let the daylight in;
The hills grow darker to my sight
And thoughts begin to swim.

And mother dear, take my young son,
(Since I was born of thee)
And care for all his little ways
And nurse him on thy knee.

And mother, wash my pale pale hands
And then bind up my feet;
My body may no longer rest
Out of its winding sheet.

And mother dear, take a sapling twig
And green grass newly mown,
And lay them on my empty bed
That my sorrow be not known.

And mother, find three berries red
And pluck them from the stalk,
And burn them at the first cockcrow
That my spirit may not walk.

And mother dear, break a willow wand,
And if the sap be even,
Then save it for sweet Robert’s sake
And he’ ll know my soul’s in heaven.

And mother, when the big tears fall,
(And fall, God knows, they may)
Tell him I died of my great love
And my dying heart was gay.

And mother dear, when the sun has set
And the pale kirk grass waves,
Then carry me through the dim twilight
And hide me among the graves.

A Year and a Day

The Poems of Elizabeth SIddal

A Year and a Day

Slow days have passed that make a year,
Slow hours that make a day,
Since I could take my first dear love
And kiss him the old way;
Yet the green leaves touch me on the cheek,
Dear Christ, this month of May.

I lie among the tall green grass
That bends above my head
And covers up my wasted face
And folds me in its bed
Tenderly and lovingly
Like grass above the dead.

Dim phantoms of an unknown ill
Float through my tired brain;
The unformed visions of my life
Pass by in ghostly train;
Some pause to touch me on the cheek,
Some scatter tears like rain.

A shadow falls along the grass
And lingers at my feet;
A new face lies between my hands —
Dear Christ, if I could weep
Tears to shut out the summer leaves
When this new face I greet.

Still it is but the memory
Of something I have seen
In the dreamy summer weather
When the green leaves came between:
The shadow of my dear love’s face —
So far and strange it seems.

The river ever running down
Between its grassy bed,
The voices of a thousand birds
That clang above my head,
Shall bring to me a sadder dream
When this sad dream is dead.

A silence falls upon my heart
And hushes all its pain.
I stretch my hands in the long grass
And fall to sleep again,
There to lie empty of all love
Like beaten corn of grain.

A Silent Wood

The Poems of Elizabeth Siddal

A Silent Wood

O silent wood, I enter thee
With a heart so full of misery
For all the voices from the trees
And the ferns that cling about my knees.

In thy darkest shadow let me sit
When the grey owls about thee flit;
There will I ask of thee a boon,
That I may not faint or die or swoon.

Gazing through the gloom like one
Whose life and hopes are also done,
Frozen like a thing of stone
I sit in thy shadow but not alone.

Can God bring back the day when we two stood
Beneath the clinging trees in that dark wood?