The Heddybee Spectre

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I clomb in haste my dappled steed,
And gallop'd far o'er mount and mead;
And when the day drew nigh its close,
I laid me down to take repose.

I laid me down to take repose,
And slumbers sweet fell o'er my brows:
And then, methought, as there I slept,
From out the ground the dead man leapt.

Said he, "If thou art valiant, Knight,
My murder soon will see the light;
For thou wilt ride to Heddybee,
Where live my youthful brothers three:

"And there, too, thou wilt surely find
My father dear and mother kind;
And there sits Kate, my much-loved wife,
Who with her women took my life.

"They chok'd me, as in bed I lay,
Then wrapp'd me in a truss of hay;
And bore me out at dead of night,
And laid me in this lonely height.

"The Groom, who lately clean'd my stall,
Now struts and vapours through my hall,-
Eats gaily with my silver knife,
And sleeps with Kate, my much-lov'd wife.

"His place is highest at the board;
But what is most to be deplor'd,
He gives my babes so little bread,
And mocks them now their sire is dead.

"Clad in my clothes he proudly stalks
Along the shady forest-walks;
And, arm'd with bow and hunting spear,
He shoots my birds and stabs my deer.

"Were I alive, to meet him now,
All underneath the linden bough,
With no one nigh, my wrath to check,
I'd wring his head from off his neck!

"But hie thee hence to Heddybee,
Where live my youthful brothers three;
First tell them all - then stab the groom-
Allow my wife a milder doom."

© George Borrow