John Masefield




The Dead Knight

The cleanly rush of the mountain air, 
And the mumbling, grumbling humble-bees, 
Are the only things that wander there, 
The pitiful bones are laid at ease, 
The grass has grown in his tangled hair, 
And a rambling bramble binds his knees. 

To shrieve his soul from the pangs of hell, 
The only requiem-bells that rang 
Were the harebell and the heather bell. 
Hushed he is with the holy spell 
In the gentle hymn the wind sang, 
And he lies quiet, and sleeps well. 

He is bleached and blanched with the summer sun; 
The misty rain and the cold dew 
Have altered him from the kingly one 
Whom his lady loved, and his men knew,
And dwindled him to a skeleton. 

The vetches have twined about his bones, 
The straggling ivy twists and creeps 
In his eye-sockets: the nettle keeps 
Vigil about him while he sleeps. 
Over his body the wind moans 
With a dreary tune throughout the day, 
In a chorus wistful, eerie, thin 
As the gull's cry — as the cry in the bay, 
The mournful word the seas say 
When tides are wandering out or in.