Thursday 12 September 2013

An anonymous early Dutch poem, first published in 1544

The dawn in the East is breaking

‘The dawn in the East is breaking.
Light everywhere is found;
Oh how my love knows little
Of where I must be bound.’

‘Oh, could they but be friends those
Who now as foes appear,
From this land I would take you,
My love, my darling dear!’

‘And where then would you take me,
You knight so bold of face?
In my love’s arms I lie in
More virtuous embrace.’

‘In your love’s arms you’re lying?
In faith! No truth you tell.
Seek out the green-leafed linden,
He lies there where he fell.’

The maiden put her cloak on
And to the linden sped,
Where lying on the ground she
Did find her true love dead.

‘And is it here you’re fallen,
All covered with your blood!
That comes from reckless boasting
And pride that bodes no good.

And is it here you’re fallen,
Who solace brought alway!
Now all that you have left me
Is many a mournful day.’

The maiden put her cloak on
And hastened o’er the ground
To where her father’s door stood
That she wide open found.

‘Oh, is there any squire here
Or some man nobly bred
Who’s willing to help bury
my love that now is dead?’

The gentlemen stayed silent,
Of speech they were bereft;
The maiden turned around then,
And shedding tears she left.

Within her arms she held him
And on his mouth did shower
More kisses in a short while
Than in so many an hour.

With his bare sword full-gleaming
The earth she dug away,
With snow-white arms she bore him
And in his grave did lay.

‘To some small far-off convent
I now my way will wend,
Henceforth black veils be wearing
And as a nun life end.’

With voice both clear and ready
The holy mass she sang
With show-white hands so steady
The little bell she rang.

No comments: