Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
Last Lines
By Richard Harris Barham (Thomas Ingoldsby) (1788–1845)
 
AS I laye a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge,
Merrie sang the Birde as she sat upon the spraye;
      There came a noble Knyghte,
      With his hauberke shynynge brighte,
      And his gallant heart was lyghte,        5
            Free and gaye;
As I laye a-thynkynge, he rode upon his waye.
 
As I laye a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge,
Sadly sang the Birde as she sat upon the tree!
      There seem’d a crimson plain,        10
      Where a gallant Knyghte lay slayne,
      And a steed with broken rein
            Ran free,
As I laye a-thynkynge, most pitiful to see!
 
As I laye a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge,        15
Merrie sang the Birde as she sat upon the boughe;
      A lovely Mayde came bye,
      And a gentil youth was nyghe,
      And he breathèd many a syghe
            And a vowe;        20
As I laye a-thynkynge, her hearte was gladsome now.
 
As I laye a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge,
Sadly sang the Birde as she sat upon the thorne,
      No more a youth was there,
      But a Maiden rent her haire,        25
      And cried in sad despaire,
            ‘That I was borne!’
As I laye a-thynkynge, she perished forlorne.
 
As I laye a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge,
Sweetly sang the Birde as she sat upon the briar;        30
      There came a lovely Childe,
      And his face was meek and mild,
      Yet joyously he smiled
            On his sire;
As I laye a-thynkynge, a Cherub mote admire.        35
 
But I laye a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge, a-thynkynge,
And sadly sang the Birde as it perch’d upon a bier;
      That joyous smile was gone,
      And the face was white and wan,
      As the downe upon the Swan        40
            Doth appear,
As I laye a-thynkynge—O! bitter flow’d the tear!
 
As I laye a-thynkynge, the golden sun was sinking,
O merrie sang that Birde as it glitter’d on her breast
      With a thousand gorgeous dyes,        45
      While, soaring to the skies,
      ’Mid the stars she seem’d to rise,
            As to her nest;
As I laye a-thynkynge, her meaning was exprest:—
      ‘Follow, follow me away,        50
      It boots not to delay,’—
      ’Twas so she seem’d to saye,
            ‘HERE IS REST!’
 
 
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