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Adela Cathcart - vol. 3

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"The sun looked over a cloud of gold;

Lady Margaret looked over the wall.

Over the bridge rode Archibold;

Behind him his merry men all.

"He leads his band to the holy land.
They follow with merry din.

white Christ's cross is on his back; In his breast a darksome sin.

"And the white cross burned him like the fire, That he could nor eat nor rest;
It burned in and in, to get at the sin, That lay cowering in his breast.

"A mile from the shore of the Dead Sea, The army lay one night.
Lord Archibold rose; and out he goes, Walking in the moonlight.

"He came to the shore of the old salt sea-- Yellow sands with frost-like tinge; The bones of the dead on the edge of its bed, Lay lapped in its oozy fringe.

"He sat him down on a half-sunk stone, And he sighed so dreary and deep:
'The devil may take my soul when I wake, If he'd only let me sleep!'

"Out from the bones and the slime and the stones, Came a voice like a raven's croak:
'Was it thou, Lord Archibold Gordon?' it said, 'Was it thou those words that spoke?'

"'I'll say them again,' quoth Archibold, 'Be thou ghost or fiend of the deep.' 'Lord Archibold heed how thou may'st speed, If thou sell me thy soul for sleep.'

"Lord Archibold laughed with a loud ha! ha!-- The Dead Sea curdled to hear:
'Thou would'st have the worst of the bargain curst-- It has every fault but fear.'

"'Done, Lord Archibold?' 'Lord Belzebub, done!'

His laugh came back in a moan.

salt glittered on, and the white moon shone, And Lord Archibold was alone.

"And back he went to his glimmering tent;

And down in his cloak he lay;

sound he slept; and a pale-faced man Watched by his bed till day.

"And if ever he turned or moaned in his sleep,

Or his brow began to lower,

gentle and clear, in the sleeper's ear, He would whisper words of power;

"Till his lips would quiver, and sighs of bliss

From sorrow's bosom would break;

the tear, soft and slow, would gather and flow; And yet he would not wake.

"Every night the pale-faced man

Sat by his bed, I say;

in mail rust-brown, with his visor down, Rode beside him in battle-fray.

"But well I wot that it was not

The devil that took his part;

his twin-brother John, he thought dead and gone, Who followed to ease his heart.

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