A knight lies slain by the southern ford,
There is dew on his plume, but no blood on his sword.
This morn he rode through the glen, e'er day
Had chased the shadows of night away.
And I knew he was food for the carrion crow,
For I marked how a raven followed him slow,
And three times croaked as he wing'd his flight
Till he vanished amid the dawning light.
For the east was crimsoning fast with red,
As the knight drew near to the torrent's bed;
Then out of the bushes a magpie flew,
But he heeded it not; for the morning dew
Was brushed from the grass by the tiny feet,
Of her he had ridden so far to meet.
And, oh, but that lady's face was fair,
And like molten gold was her sunny hair,
And her soft slow smile of welcome, it came
Like a breeze o'er the corn in some fertile plain.
At least he died happy, believing her true,
They stabbed him behind, and never he knew
Close by in the thicket his deadliest foe
Had watched for him long in the morning glow.
And his fair, false love who had trysted him there,
Little sorrow had she for his blood-stained hair;
As she left him lying, the carrion crow
Croaked loudly with joy as he watched her go.