The Page’s Message

(Translated from the French
of the Garde Ysoude)

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.

Choose another poem