Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE HUNTER AND THE MILKMAID, by PIERRE JEAN DE BERANGER



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THE HUNTER AND THE MILKMAID, by            
First Line: The lark is singing her matin lay
Last Line: I'm not -- in such -- particular -- haste!


I.

THE lark is singing her matin lay,
Oh come with me, fair maiden, I pray;
Sweet, oh sweet is the morning hour,
And sweeter still is yon ivied bower;
Wreaths of roses I'll twine for thee,
Oh come, fair maiden, along with me!
Ah! Sir Hunter, my mother is near;
I really must n't be loitering here.

II.

Thy mother, fair maiden, is far away,
And never will listen a word we say.
I'll sing thee a song that ladies sing
In royal castles to please the king;
A wondrous song, whose magical charm
Will keep the singer from every harm.
Fie! Sir Hunter, a fig for your song,
Good by! for I must be going along.

III.

Ah! well, if singing will not prevail,
I'll tell thee, then, a terrible tale;
'T is all about a Baron so bold,
Huge and swart, and ugly and old,
Who saw the ghost of his murdered wife, --
A pleasant story, upon my life!
Ah! Sir Hunter, the story is flat;
I know one worth a dozen of that.

IV.

I'll teach thee, then, a curious prayer
Of wondrous power the wolf to scare,
And frighten the witch that hovers nigh
To blight the young with her evil eye.
O guard, fair maiden, thy beauty well,
A fearful thing is her wicked spell!
Oh, I can read my missal, you know.
Good by, Sir Hunter, for I must go.

V.

Nay, tarry a moment, my charming girl:
Here is a jewel of gold and pearl;
A beautiful cross it is, I ween,
As ever on beauty's breast was seen.
There's nothing at all but love to pay;
Take it, and wear it, but only stay!
Ah! Sir Hunter, what excellent taste!
I'm not -- in such -- particular -- haste!





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