I may not weep, not weep, and he is dead.
A weary, weary weight of tears unshed
Through the long day in my sad heart I bear;
The horrid sun with all unpitying glare
Shines down into the dreary weaving-room,
Where clangs the ceaseless clatter of the loom,
And ceaselessly deft maiden-fingers weave
The fine-wrought web; and I from morn till eve
Work with the rest, and when folk speak to me
I smile hard smiles;
while still continually
The silly stream of maiden speech flows on
And now at length they talk of him that’s gone,
Lightly lamenting that he died so soon
Ah me! ere yet his life’s sun stood at noon.
Some praise his eyes, some deem his body fair,
And some mislike the colour of his hair!
Sweet life, sweet shape, sweet eyes, and sweetest hair,
What form, what hue, save Love’s own, did ye wear?
I may not weep, not weep, for very shame.
Thrice-blest, thrice-crowned, of gods thrice-lovèd she
That other, fairer maid, who tombward brings
Her gold, shorn locks and piled-up offerings
Of fragrant fruits, rich wines, and spices rare,
And cakes with honey-sweet, with the saffron fair;
And who, unchecked by any thought of shame,
May weep her tears, and call upon his name,
With burning bosom prest to the cold ground,
Knowing, indeed, that all her life is crown’d,
Thrice-crowned, thrice honoured, with that love of his;
No dearer top on earth is there, I wish
While yet the sweet life lived, more light to bear
Was my heart’s hunger; when the morn was fair,
And I with other maidens in a line
Passed singing through the city to the shrine,
Oft in the streets or crowded market-place
I caught swift glimpses of the dear-known face;
Or marked a stalwart shoulder in the throng;
Or heard stray speeches as we passed along,
In tones more dear to me than any song.
These, hoarded up with care, and kept apart,
Did serve as meat and drink my hungry heart.
And now for ever has my sweet love gone;
And weary, empty days I must drag on,
Till all the days of all my life be sped,
By no thought cheered, by no hope comforted.
For if indeed we meet among the shades,
How shall he know me from the other maids?
Me, that had died to save his body pain!
Alas, alas, such idle thoughts are vain!
O cruel, cruel sunlight, get thee gone!
O dear, dim shades of eve, come swiftly on!
That when quick lips, keen eyes, are closed in sleep,
Through the long night till dawn I then may weep.