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Ballad Of The Mad Ladye.

Kate Seymour Maclean 1836 ( Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania) – 1918 ( New York)

The rowan tree grows by the tower foot,
(Flotsam and jetsam from over the sea,
Can the dead feel joy or pain?)
And the owls in the ivy blink and hoot,
And the sea-waves bubble around its root,
Where kelp and tangle and sea-shells be,
When the bat in the dark flies silently.
(Hark to the wind and the rain.)
 
The ladye sits in the turret alone,
(Flotsam and jetsam from over the sea,
The dead--can they complain?)
And her long hair down to her knee has grown,
And her hand is cold as a hand of stone,
And wan as a band of flesh may be,
While the bird in the bower sings merrily.
(Hark to the wind and the rain.)
 
Sadly she leans by her casement side
(Flotsam and jetsam from over the sea,
Can the dead arise again?)
And watcheth the ebbing and flowing tide,
But her eye is dim, and the sea is wide;
The fisherman's sail and the cloud flies free
And the bird is mute in the rowan tree.
(Hark to the wind and the rain.)
 
The moon shone in on the turret stair
(Flotsam and jetsam from over the sea,
The dead are bound with a chain.)
And touched her cheek and brightened her hair,
And found naught else in the world so fair,
So ghostly fair as the mad ladye,
While the bird in the bower sang lonesomely.
(Hark to the wind and the rain.)
 
The weary days and the months crept on,
(Flotsam and jetsam from over the sea,
The words of the dead are vain)
At last the summer was over and gone,
And still she sat in her turret alone,
Her white hands clasping about her knee,
And the bird was mute in the rowan tree.
(Hark to the wind and the rain.)
 
Wild was the sound of the wind and the sleet,
(Flotsam and jetsam from over the sea.
The dead--do they walk again?)
Wilder the roar of the surf that beat;
Whose was the form that it bore to her feet
Swayed with the swell of the unquiet sea,
While the raven croaked in the rowan tree.
(Hark to the wind and the rain.)
 
Oh Lady, strange is the silent guest--
(Flotsam and jetsam cast up by the sea,
Can the dead feel sorrow or pain?)
With the sea-drenched locks and the pulseless breast
And the close-shut lips which thine have pressed
And the wide sad eyes that heed not thee,
While the raven croaks in the rowan tree.
(Hark to the wind and the rain.)
 
The tower is dark, and the doors are wide,
(Flotsam and jetsam cast up by the sea,
The dead are at peace again.)
Into the harbour the fisher boats ride,
But two went out with the ebbing tide,
Without sail, without oar, full fast and free,
And the raven croaks in the rowan tree.
(Hark to the wind and the rain.)
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

2:34 min read
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Kate Seymour Maclean

Washington Gladden was a leading American Congregational pastor and early leader in the Social Gospel movement. He was a leading member of the Progressive Movement, serving for two years as a member of the Columbus, Ohio city council and campaigning against Boss Tweed as religious editor of the New York Independent. more…

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    "Ballad Of The Mad Ladye." Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 28 Jul 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/56050/ballad-of-the-mad-ladye.>.

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