Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WARRIOR MAID, by ANNA HEMPSTEAD BRANCH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE WARRIOR MAID, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: They bade me to my spinning
Last Line: And beautiful fierce sons.
Subject(s): Love

THEY bade me to my spinning
Because I was a maid,
But down into the battle
I marshaled unafraid.
Brightly against the sunbeams
I shook the flaming lance.
Then out I swept to gather
With the red and royal dance.
The war was stately in me,
And in my heart was pride --
Fierce moods like neighing horses
Most terribly did ride.
Deep as a sea of scarlet
I saw the banners roll --
And then the great war terror
Laid hold upon my soul.
I laughed aloud to feel it
And royally did cheer:
I strode amid my tremblings
And did not fear to fear.
A warrior rode against me.
I laid him to his rest.
I could not stop to gather
The bright sword from his breast.
But on I drove in splendor,
I -- that was but a maid --
With piercing calls of triumph
And I was not afraid.
But once, beneath my charging,
A face shone up below.
Dead in the bloody furrow,
A stranger white as snow!
The foe rode close behind me!
I lost the day for this --
I sprang from off my stallion
And left on him a kiss.
The sword that pierced his bosom
With jeweled splendor shone.
I snatched it from him bleeding,
And lo, it was my own.
The spears blazed thick around me
When I leaped forth again.
But jubilant they found me
To face a thousand men.
Bright-voiced was my laughter,
I -- that was but a maid!
And when the sharp gyve bound me,
Then was I not afraid.
Ah, hadst thou lived, my warrior,
Among the glorious ones,
I had borne thee savage daughters
And beautiful fierce sons.

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