I heard youth's silver clarion call to Fate
I heard youth's silver clarion call to Fate,
And looking forth beheld his flower-fair face,
Framed in his shining helmet as he sat
Sheathed in white armour, full of fearless grace,
Watching the coming of a threat'ning cloud,
Hueless and shapeless, that with stealthy pace
Was creeping towards him. 'O dear youth, beware!'
But answer made he none save laugh'd aloud.
'Beware,' I cried, 'it hides some hideous snare.'
At it he made—and vanished in the shroud,
Whence there broke forth, O Christ! so sharp a cry
Of dire defeat and mortal agony,
That all my blood ran back in every vein;
And when th' accursed blackness roll'd away,
Prone in the dust my lovely warrior lay,
Defiled, not dead; sore wounded—shamed—not slain;
His shining armour smirched with many a stain,
Filthy and foul, ne'er to be bright again.
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