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My path with things familiar spread
And when they said that John was dead,
I stood in wonder lost.
New muffin-men, from lamp to lamp,
With careless gaze I scan;
For none can e'er erase thy stamp,
Oh, John, thou muffin-man!
Thou standest, snatch'd from time and storm,
A statue of the soul;
And round thy carved and goblin form
Past days-past days unroll!
We will not part,-affection dim
This song shall help to fan,
In her cavern of rock Dame Bertha stay'd,
In open air young Roland play'd
Small wail made he I wot.
"O Charles! my brother true and great
Why fled I thus from thee?
For love I left renown and state,
Now frown'st thou sore on me.
"O Milon! consort dear and kind!
"Come hither, come hither, my little Roland,
"Young Roland! to the city go,
In his golden hall, high festival
Kept Charles with his paladins bold; Small rest was there for the serving-men, With platter and dish of gold.
And loud harps rang, and minstrels sang,
But the sound reach'd not the dreary spot
And round about the outer court
The king he gazed the press along
Right through an open door,
When a gallant boy, through the thickest throng Full manfully him bore.
His garb it was of fourfold hue,
Into the hall walk'd little Roland,
On a golden dish he laid his hand,
And silent forth he strode.
"What may this mean?" our good king thought;
"It passes, by my fay!"
But since the deed he question'd not,
There did but pass a little space,
"Now out and hold, thou urchin bold!"
Our good king loud did cry; Young Roland still retain'd his hold,
And dared him with his eye.
The king frown'd awhile, but soon must be smile, And mirthsome wax'd his mood:
"Thou tread'st as bold in our hall of gold As in thy good green wood.
"Thou bearest a dish from a royal board
Like an apple from the tree;
Thou fetchest, as though from the streamlet's flow, My wine so red to see."
"The peasant girl drinks of the running stream, The apple she breaks from the tree;
But venison and lamprey my mother beseem,
"Now an thy mother so noble be,
"And who may be sewer to carve at her board, And who may bear her cup?"
"My right hand is sewer to carve at her board, My left hand bears her cup."
"And pr'ythee, who may her warders be?"
My little eyen so blue;"
"And who may be her minstrel free?"
"My mouth of the rosy hue."
"A goodly train hath thy fair ladye,
"In every quarter of the town,'
Eight boys this arm o'erthrew,
And they brought to me, for liegeman's fee,
"A gallant page hath thy dame I ween,
A better there could not be:
I trow she is some beggar-queen,
Gramercy, 'twere shame so noble a dame
So rise, three ladies! rise, three knights!
Forth from the hall went little Roland,
And bore the golden prize.
At the royal word, three knights from the board, And three bright ladies rise.
The king he tarried a little space,
He fix'd his eye, and loud 'gan cry,
"Help, heaven, and saints of grace! . In my open court have I made a sport Of my own imperial race!
"Help, heaven! My sister Bertha, pale,
In beggar's vile array."
Dame Bertha at his footstool fell,
That ladye meek and mild;
Still seem'd that feud his heart to swell,
He stared on her so wild.
Dame Bertha that look could scarcely brook,
Young Roland raised his eyes and gazed,
And hail'd his uncle free.