The Robber Bridegroom

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(Talk between Bird and Girl)

Turn back. Turn, young lady dear
A murderer's house you enter here

  I was wooed and won little bird

(I have watched them come bright girls
Out of the rising sun, with curls)
The stair is tall the cellar deep
The wind coughs in the halls

  I never wish to sleep

From the ceiling the sky falls
It will press you and press you, dear.

  It is my desire to fear

(What a child! she desires her fear)
The house is whirling night, the guests
Grains of dust from the northwest

  I do not come for rest

There is no rest for the dead

  Ready for the couch of my groom

In a long room beneath the dew
Where the walls embrace and cling.

  I wear my wedding ring

He will cut off your finger
And the blood will linger

  Little bird!

© Allen Tate