The Ballad of the Living Dead

I thought that when I struck him down,
Why, that would be the end
Of him who stole my Love away,
That false, betraying friend.

I gave him no time for a prayer
And no space for a priest. . . .
I flung him over in the moat
To make the fishes' feast.

Yet, even as I turned away
And thought, " now all is well, "
A night-thing sent a doleful cry
Like a far voice from hell!

They searched for many a torch-lit night,
For many a windy day
Till a peasant said he'd seen him go
As he had ridden away.

Full loud I laughed ... but when I saw
The stable open wide,
I feared the Dead who would not die, —
His horse was not inside.

Then came my woman he had won,
Saying, " your ring of worth
He took, last night. Behold, no more
It holds my finger's girth. . . . "

O, worse than death the look he gave,
And none the words he said
When the slain man returned, one night,
And stood beside my bed. . . .

I sent for the sad, grey, silent priest,
And, as he harked to me,
Horror rose in his face like the dawn
Over a still, grey sea:

Alas, alas, I've learned too late
Now that my days are sped
That strike with daggers all you may,
The Dead will not lie dead. . . .

And I hear them building all day long
And far into the night
A tall thing with a dangling rope
Upon a sky-black height.
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