Laus Deo Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


IN the hall the coffin waits and the idle armourer standsA
At his belt the coffin nails and the hammer in his handsA
The bed of state is hung with crape the grand old bed where she wasB
And like an upright corpse she sitteth gazing dumbly at the bedC
Hour by hour her serving men enter by the curtain'd doorD
And with steps of muffled woe pass breathless o'er the silent floorD
And marshal mutely round and look from each to each with eyelids redC
'Touch him not ' she shriek'd and cried 'he is but newly dead '-
'O my own dear mistress ' the ancient Nurse did sayE
'Seven long days and seven long nights you have watch'd him where heF
lay '-
'Seven long days and seven long nights ' the hoary Steward saidC
'Seven long days and seven long nights ' groan'd the Warrener grayE
'Seven ' said the old Henchman and bow'd his aged headC
'On your lives ' she shriek'd and cried 'he is but newly dead '-
Then a father Priest they soughtG
The Priest that taught her all she knewH
And they told him of her lossI
'For she is mild and sweet of willJ
She loved him and his words are peaceK
And he shall heal her ill '-
But her watch she did not ceaseK
He bless'd her where she sat distraughtG
And show'd her holy crossI
The cross she kiss'd from year to yearL
But she neither saw nor heardM
And said he in her deaf earN
All he had been wont to teachO
All she had been fond to hearN
Missall'd prayer and solemn speechO
But she answer'd not a wordM
Only when he turn'd to speak with those who wept about the bedC
'On your lives ' she shriek'd and cried 'he is but newly dead '-
Then how sadly he turn'd from her it were wonderful to tellP
And he stood beside the death bed as by one who slumbers wellP
And he lean'd o'er him who lay there and in cautious whisper lowQ
'He is not dead but sleepeth ' said the Priest and smooth'd hisR
'Sleepeth ' said she looking up and the sun rose in her faceT
'He must be better than I thought for the sleep is very sound '-
'He is better ' said the Priest and call'd her maidens roundU
With them came that ancient dame who nursed her when a childV
O Nurse ' she sigh'd 'O Nurse ' she cried 'O Nurse ' and then sheF
And then she wept with that they drewH
About her as of oldW
Her dying eyes were sweet and blueH
Her trembling touch was coldW
But she said 'My maidens trueH
No more weeping and well awayE
Let them kill the feastX
I would be happy in my soulY
He is better saith the PriestX
He did but sleep the weary dayE
And will waken wholeY
Carry me to his dear sideZ
And let the halls be trimA2
Whistly whistly ' said sheF
'I am wan with watching and wailB2
He must not wake to see me paleB2
Let me sleep with himA2
See you keep the tryst for meF
I would rest till he awakeC2
And rise up like a brideZ
But whistly whistly ' said sheF
'Yet rejoice your Lord doth liveD2
And for His dear sakeC2
Say Laus Domine '-
Silent they cast down their eyesE2
And every breast a sob did riveD2
She lifted her in wild surpriseE2
And they dared not disobeyE
'Laus Deo ' said the Steward hoary when her days were newH
'Laus Deo ' said the Warrener whiter than the warren snowsF2
'Laus Deo ' the bald Henchman who had nursed her on his kneeF
The old Nurse moved her lips in vainG2
And she stood among the trainG2
Like a dead tree shaking dewH
Then the Priest he softly steptH
Midway in the little bandH
And he took the Lady's handH
'Laus Deo ' he said aloudH
'Laus Deo ' they said againH2
Yet again and yet againH2
Humbly cross'd and lowly bow'dH
Till in wont and fear it roseF2
To the Sabbath strainG2
But she neither turn'd her headH
Nor 'Whistly whistly ' said sheF
Her hands were folded as in graceT
We laid her with her ancient raceT
And all the village weptH

Sydney Thompson Dobell


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