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THE KING OF DENMARK'S RIDE, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Word was brought to the danish king
Last Line: "to the halls where my love lay dying!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Stevenson, Pearce; Stirling-maxwell, Lady; Norton, The Honourable Mrs. Caroline
Subject(s): Death; Denmark; Dead, The; Danes

Word was brought to the Danish king
That the love of his heart lay suffering,
And pined for the comfort his voice would bring;
(O, ride as though you were flying!)
Better he loves each golden curl
On the brow of that Scandinavian girl
Than his rich crown jewels of ruby and pearl:
And his rose of the isles is dying!
Thirty nobles saddled with speed;
Each one mounting a gallant steed
Which he kept for battle and days of need;
(O, ride as though you were flying!)
Spurs were struck in the foaming flank;
Worn-out chargers staggered and sank;
Bridles were slackened, and girths were burst;
But ride as they would, the king rode first,
For his rose of the isles lay dying!
His nobles are beaten, one by one;
They have fainted, and faltered, and homeward gone;
His little fair page now follows alone,
For strength and for courage trying!
The king looked back at the faithful child;
Wan was the face that answering smiled;
They passed the drawbridge with clatterin din,
Then he dropped; and only the king rode in
Where his rose of the isles lay dying!
The king blew a blast on his bugle horn;
No answer came; but faint and forlorn
An echo came returned on the cold gray morn,
Like the breath of a spirit sighing.
The castle portal stood grimly wide;
None welcomed the king from that weary ride;
For dead, in the light of the dawning day,
The pale sweet form of the welcomer lay,
Who had yearned for his voice while dying!
The panting steed, with a drooping crest,
Stood weary.
The king returned from her chamber of rest,
The thick sobs choking in his breast;
And, that dumb companion eyeing,
The tears gushed forth which he strove to check;
He bowed his head on his charger's neck:
"O steed, that every nerve didst strain,
Dear steed, our ride hath been in vain
To the halls where my love lay dying!"

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