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William Morris (1834-1896)

Riding Together


              1  For many, many days together
              2    The wind blew steady from the East;
              3For many days hot grew the weather,
              4    About the time of our Lady's Feast.

              5  For many days we rode together,
              6    Yet met we neither friend nor foe;
              7Hotter and clearer grew the weather,
              8    Steadily did the East wind blow.

              9  We saw the trees in the hot, bright weather,
            10    Clear-cut, with shadows very black,
            11As freely we rode on together
            12    With helms unlaced and bridles slack.

            13  And often, as we rode together,
            14    We, looking down the green-bank'd stream,
            15Saw flowers in the sunny weather,
            16    And saw the bubble-making bream.

            17  And in the night lay down together,
            18    And hung above our heads the rood,
            19Or watch'd night-long in the dewy weather,
            20    The while the moon did watch the wood.

            21  Our spears stood bright and thick together,
            22    Straight out the banners stream'd behind,
            23As we gallop'd on in the sunny weather,
            24    With faces turn'd towards the wind.

            25  Down sank our threescore spears together,
            26    As thick we saw the pagans ride;
            27His eager face in the clear fresh weather,
            28    Shone out that last time by my side.

            29  Up the sweep of the bridge we dash'd together,
            30    It rock'd to the crash of the meeting spears,
            31Down rain'd the buds of the dear spring weather,
            32    The elm-tree flowers fell like tears.

            33  There, as we roll'd and writhed together,
            34    I threw my arms above my head,
            35For close by my side, in the lovely weather,
            36    I saw him reel and fall back dead.

            37  I and the slayer met together,
            38    He waited the death-stroke there in his place,
            39With thoughts of death, in the lovely weather,
            40    Gapingly mazed at my madden'd face.

            41  Madly I fought as we fought together;
            42    In vain: the little Christian band
            43The pagans drown'd, as in stormy weather
            44    The river drowns low-lying land.

            45  They bound my blood-stain'd hands together,
            46    They bound his corpse to nod by my side:
            47Then on we rode, in the bright March weather,
            48    With clash of cymbals did we ride.

            49  We ride no more, no more together;
            50    My prison-bars are thick and strong,
            51I take no heed of any weather,
            52    The sweet Saints grant I live not long.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine for 1856 (London: Bell, 1856). A.R. C.X. Sh. 2 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
First publication date: 1856
RPO poem editor: J. D. Robins
RP edition: 2RP 2.601.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/10

Rhyme: abab


Other poems by William Morris