Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
The Gillyflower of Gold
 
William Morris (1834–96)
 
 
A GOLDEN gillyflower to-day
I wore upon my helm alway,
And won the prize of this tourney.
  Hah! Hah! la belle jaune giroflée.
 
However well Sir Giles might sit,        5
His sun was weak to wither it,
Lord Miles’s blood was dew on it:
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée.
 
Although my spear in splinters flew
From John’s steel-coat, my eye was true;        10
I wheel’d about, and cried for you,
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée.
 
Yea, do not doubt my heart was good,
Though my sword flew like rotten wood,
To shout, although I scarcely stood,        15
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée.
 
My hand was steady, too, to take
My axe from round my neck, and break
John’s steel-coat up for my love’s sake.
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée.        20
 
When I stood in my tent again,
Arming afresh, I felt a pain
Take hold of me, I was so fain—
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée.
 
To hear: “Honneur aux fils des preux!”        25
Right in my ears again, and shew
The gillyflower blossom’d new.
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée.
 
The Sieur Guillaume against me came,
His tabard bore three points of flame        30
From a red heart: with little blame—
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée
 
Our tough spears crackled up like straw;
He was the first to turn and draw
His sword, that had nor speak nor flaw,—        35
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée.
 
But I felt weaker than a maid,
And my brain, dizzied and afraid,
Within my helm a fierce tune play’d,—
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée.        40
 
Until I thought of your dear head,
Bow’d to the gillyflower bed,
The yellow flowers stain’d with red;—
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée.
 
Crash! how the swords met, “giroflée!”        45
The fierce tune in my helm would play,
“La belle! la belle jaune giroflée!”
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée.
 
Once more the great swords met again,
“La belle! la belle!” but who fell then        50
Le Sieur Guillaume, who struck down ten;—
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée.
 
And as, with maz’d and unarm’d face,
Toward my own crown and the Queen’s place
They led me at a gentle pace,—        55
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée,
 
I almost saw your quiet head
Bow’d o’er the gillyflower bed,
The yellow flowers stain’d with red,—
  Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée.        60
 

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