Ballad #1

Whence the rider came about
Looking for a different route
He stopped by a water spout
And rested there to quench his drought

A maiden came and filled by there
And saw the rider, given scare
But he was sleeping, so little beware
Of the horseman lying there

His beard was wet and not quite straight
With graven lack of care of late
She then stopped, master’s berate
And combed his beard, made it straight

Soon thereafter the rider awoke
And watched the maiden finish the stroke
Upon his beard and then he spoke
“Take my clasp from my throat.”

The maiden, startled though she was
Did this favored manner and thus
Earned the haggard rider’s trust
And would continue if he must

The lady made to make him stand
And asked him if he’d take his brand
And he took the clasp from her hand
And that single brush had felt quite grand

The rider’s eyes had darkened here
Feeling an unwanted fear
And he shed a single tear
And whispered in the maiden’s ear

“I only wish to move along
I care not for mirth and song
For the people in those throngs
Are fools, and their road leads brigand

Keep if you will my presence here
But I must warn you, Doom be near
At hand is he,” And left her ear
With her finger, she traced the tear

He grabbed her wrist upon his face
And moved it to a different place
“With all thy charm and all thy grace,
I wish to stay, but must make haste

For I have masters of my own
And time is desperately on loan
I tarry not, and it be known
My destination, Abalone”

He placed her hand upon his breast
And with that dispelled his rest
One kiss he gave and hastened lest
He be tempted, fail his test

“Faire thee well, O maiden fair
Tread thee careful, for Devil’s Lair
Lies on thy road soon up there
The reaches of the mind, Beware!”

Hither mounting faithful steed
He rode forth without need
But before he left indeed
He bore out the maiden’s plea:

“If master, time and horse permit
Return thee to my abode with
A grander work of aged smith
Two silver rings and heart permits

That thou make unto me a vow
To be mine forever now
And be joined, I and thou
With an eternal marriage vow”

“Thou hast requests staked high
I know not if I may try
To resign from none but my
Hero’s post and settle to die

So walk thou on thy road, tread thee light
And step in silence be not contrite
And if thou be pressed make thou a fight
Continue thee, O maiden bright!”

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