Gateway to the Classics: In the Days of the Guild by Louise Lamprey
In the Days of the Guild by  Louise Lamprey

Troubadour's Song

When we went hunting in Fairyland,

(O the chiming bells on her bridle-rein!)

And the hounds broke leash at the queen's command,

(O the toss of her palfrey's mane!)

Like shadows we fled through the weaving shade

With quivering moonbeams thick inlaid,

And the shrilling bugles around us played—

I dreamed that I fought the Dane.

Clatter of faun-feet sudden and swift,

(O the view-halloo in the dusky wood!)

And satyrs crowding the mountain rift,

(O the flare of her fierce wild mood!)

Boulders and hollows alive, astir

With a goat-thighed foe, all teeth and fur,

We husked that foe like a chestnut bur—

I thought of the Holy Rood.

We trailed from our shallop a magic net,

(O the spell of her voice with its crooning note!)

By the edge of the world, where the stars are set,

(O the ripples that rocked our boat!)

But into the mesh of the star-sown dream

A mermaid swept on the lashing stream,

A drift of spume and an emerald gleam—

I remembered my love's white throat.

When we held revel in Fairyland,

(O the whirl of the dancers under the Hill!)

The wind-harp sang to the queen's light hand,

(O her eyes, so deep and still!)

But I was a captive among them all,

And the jeweled flagons were brimming with gall,

And the arras of gold was a dungeon-wall,—

I dreamed that they set me free!

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