William Morris Archive

Fragment: The Lady of the Wasted Land

Draft in Fitz. MS 1 and MS 2. Title is Murray's, not on MS. A verse version of the prose tale no. 45; May Morris mentions these two versions in CW, XXI, xx.

Draft in Fitz. MS 1

Listen good folk to my ryme.
There was a house upon a time
Good and fair by a woodside
And this time it was Christmastide
Therein lived a fair lady
Fatherless I trow was she
And motherless: thereto perfay
She saw no man from day to day
Only dames might be with her
Old or young or foul or fair
So on a time as my song saith
This lady lay sick nigh to death
So she said in a fine voice
Clear though with so little noise
To her handmaidens and said
Sisters you deem I am but dead
But I trow the God of heaven
Such a grace to me has given
I shall not die all utterly
Before that my true love I see
Therefore I pray the[e]
Blanche my maid
Who art of few things afraid
Some token unto him to bear
Ho give me what lieth there
This same was a girdle fair
Wrought with gold in strange manner
And chiefly in the midst of it
Where the twyfold clasp did fit
Was a red heart and a sun
She handled it and one by one
Over the scales her fingers drew
Till she came to the clasps two
Then eft she essayed to speak
But wept as if her heart would break
And crossed her feet within the bed
And on the pillow rolled her head
Then each to each her maids said
Right sorrowfully--Such fantasies
Hold her now as these and these
Alas before the more doubtless
She will die of this distress
And what can we. but then again
She spoke sobbing and with pain. . .

Since this draft ends at the end of a page, the poem seems to have continued on.