William Morris Archive

I went through many lands and found no rest.

Pub. CW, XXI, xxv-xxx; B. L. Add. MS. 74,255, f. 6. and possibly other folios in same ms. collection; see also "Mad as I stopped." The relationship to "Mad as I Stopped" is unclear; May Morris combines these.

74,255, ff. 8-14

[f. 8] I went through many lands and found no rest
When I had left you and this castle here
Nor found I any council what was best
But when about all dizzied for a year
At last it chanced on a September day
When all the sleeping sky was one blue grey
I rode unhappily through a green way
Neither did any come for me to fight or fear
My pennon no wind shook my mail-hood lay aback
I looked down on my breast and saw my bearing there
Gold dragons on green ground my bridle-reins were slack
I held within my mouth locks of my long lank hair
But as I rode faint singing came to me
From the right hand I thought that it might be
The voice of demoysels at a tourney
So toward that voice I went sideways till I came where
Many pavilions on an open lawn
With gold and blue and scarlet scared the birds
My heart shrunk back all sickened at the dawn
Of arms embroidery and clear grey words
Nevertheless I set my lips together
Till the blood came not felt as in hot weather
The archer does not feel the strain of leather
When as he marches towards the foe his coat he girds [sequence here unclear]
[f. 10] I used to think it was a sort of right
That I should have each day some happiness
In which time clean forgotten was the night
All its dull pain, and truly more or less
The happiness came to me which I sought
After when more years more cares to me brought
Some part of each day that I should have fought
I claimed for dreams enjoyment now not happiness
[f. 11] O God it was not fair no part at all
Was left of any day, and day by day
The hours lengthen and it doth befall
I sleep not half forgetful in a way
I sleep one hour only of the night
At dawn the moon fades and my strained sight
Drops from the helmet strange in the grey light
I try to shout Lord help but naught at all can say
Ah while I stood in that pavilion
And saw the pale headed maidens arm in arm
And saw the roof above with stars thereon
I reeled and fell down straight from memory and strange calm
Because I saw myself as I did pray
Sitting upon my bed waiting for day
My blue enameled helm touched by the grey
Not showing that blue now while from the neighboring elm
Cock crow at dawn slow in coming round
The cocks send out that strange unearthly sound
So slow and very cold in coming round
Perhaps doomsday is past and it will not come now
But in those cold dawns I pray thee Eleanore
Between the roses drained of colour come no more
Wall fall of moist white feet upon the marble floor
Eleanore I pray thee sit not there so calm
[f. 12] Likewise I saw myself in the hot noon
Sitting alone upon a bank of sand
And few men come there now, yet in the moon
The witches gather there from many a land
Yet I sat there alone and let the sun
Beat on my helmed head feeling the great drops run
Over my cheeks like tears and dropping one by one
On the steel plates of my knees or else upon my hand
And this I did because I feared the shade
I feared to see a ghost clad in deep green
In the likeness of a very beauteous maid
But yet so pale so pale with no joy to be seen
I fear to see her cover her thin face
With her thin hands, then weeping in that place
To kneel in last years leaves to hide her face
For if I were to see only her stately mien
There would no longer be a chance to me
Of dying but for even I should live
Walk slowly in the sun but [not] flee
Through purple shadows that the beech trees give
O love my royal snow white Eleanore
I pray thee come & struggle no more
On deep through they hands & shadow or
My hot hot steel gear wishing me alas to live
[f. 13] O Eleanore who liest there alone
Ah so alone the blue blue roof above
I pray thee let me be and make low moan
Thy lips on your lips for I am in love
For what thing love I better than thine eyes
What thing O Love except perhaps those wise
Kind lips the little hand that tries
By witching tembling grip to say it is in love
Dead is she then behold I pass my lips
Over her cold face moaning like a bee
Who when the choristers are chaunting, slips
Along the stained glass in the clerestory
Brushing the face of Christ at Bethlehem
I kissed her oer & oer from the bodice hem
Up to the golden locks yea sunk my lips in them
I never knew till now how sweet a kiss could be
Alas God would not let me stay there long
One of those maidens rising from her place
Came to me & on my shoulder laid a strong
Indignant grasp and when I saw her face
I knew that I must go so piteously
I moved to the bier foot she to me
Turned full her face like a fierce dog then she
Passed by the feet in going to her place
[f. 14] her long red hair brushed as she went past
The silks from off the feet of Eleanore
I doubted shivered much but then at last
Turned weeping back to my own love once more
I bent down till my wet cheek touched her foot
Took off the gold shoe I felt a sharp pain shoot
Through all my frame go down to the hearts root