Now the Knighte and the Ladye had been long aparte
and knew not when they might again meet.
So they sent a Message by the Page, sayinge that
Love was the same in olde or yonge
(for which God shall reste their soules)
And the Message was after this sort —
Spare neither lie, nor deed, nor gold— Smite hard, trip not, let no thought stray From the purpose set, for short is Day, And night is moonless, and blank and cold. If l be dumb for a while—Remain Dumb for a season—that none may see What is the chain 'twixt thee and me, And the light loss brings a greater gain. We have seen the world's most secret woe, We have drunk together of bitter springs, We fashioned us vain imaginings That lived and faded long ago Nothing is left but Love alone, Binding fast,—as the black frost binds When the lake lies dead to the winter winds And the face of the land is turned to stone— Spur the Stallion weak and lame, (Long it is since his fire past) Furbish old armour, come at last As the perfect knight of my girlhood came— Ere the night come, come swiftly thou, For we are old. Stay not but come. Old lips are swiftly smitten dumb And the lifeblood faileth even now.