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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald

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Death and a lady rode in the wind, In a starry midnight pale; Death on a bony horse behind, With no footfall upon the gale.

The lady sat a wild-eyed steed; Eastward he tore to the morn. But ever the sense of a noiseless speed, And the sound of reaping corn!

All the night through, the headlong race Sped to the morning gray; The dew gleamed cold on her cold white face-- From Death or the morning? say.

Her steed's wide knees began to shake, As he flung the road behind; The lady sat still, but her heart did quake, And a cold breath came down the wind.

When, Lo! a fleet bay horse beside, With a silver mane and tail; A knight, bareheaded, the horse did ride, With never a coat of mail.

He never lifted his hand to Death, And he never couched a spear; But the lady felt another breath, And a voice was in her ear.

He looked her weary eyes through and through, With his eyes so strong in faith: Her bridle-hand the lady drew, And she turned and laughed at Death.

And away through the mist of the morning gray, The spectre and horse rode wide; The dawn came up the old bright way, And the lady never died.

Lord Seaford
(who has entered during the song). Delightful! Why, my little pining Gertrude, With such charm-music you will soon be well. Madam, I know not how to speak the thanks I owe you for your kindness to my daughter: She looks as different from yesterday As sunrise from a fog.


  I am but too happy

To be of use to one I love so much.

SCENE VI.--A rainy day. LORD SEAFORD walking up and down his room, murmuring to himself.

Oh, my love is like a wind of death, That turns me to a stone! Oh, my love is like a desert breath, That burns me to the bone!

Oh, my love is a flower with a purple glow, And a purple scent all day! But a black spot lies at the heart below, And smells all night of clay.

Oh, my love is like the poison sweet That lurks in the hooded cell! One flash in the eyes, one bounding beat, And then the passing bell!

Oh, my love she's like a white, white rose! And I am the canker-worm: Never the bud to a blossom blows; It falls in the rainy storm.

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