Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FAIR ELEANOR, by PHOEBE CARY

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FAIR ELEANOR, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When the birds were mating and building
Last Line: I ween, to answer a word!
Subject(s): Spinning; Weddings; Love

WHEN the birds were mating and building
To the sound of a pleasant tune,
Fair Eleanor sat on the porch and spun
All the long bright afternoon.
She wound the flax on the distaff,
She spun it fine and strong;
She sung as it slipped through her hands, and this
Was the burden of her song:
"I sit here spinning, spinning,
And my heart beats joyfully,
Though my lover is riding away from me
To his home by the hills of the sea."

When the shining skeins were finished,
And the loom its work had done,
Fair Eleanor brought her linen out
To spread on the grass in the sun.
She sprinkled it over with water,
She turned and bleached it white;
And still she sung, and the burden
Was gay, as her heart was light:
"O sun, keep shining, shining!
O web, bleach white for me!
For now my lover is riding back
From his home by the hills of the sea."

When the sun, through the leaves of autumn,
Burned with a dull-red flame,
Fair Eleanor had made the robes
To wear when her lover came.
And she stood at the open clothes-press,
And the roses burned in her face,
As she strewed with roses and lavender
Her folded linen and lace;
And she murmured softly, softly:
"My bridegroom draws near to me,
And we shall ride back together
To his home by the hills of the sea."

When the desolate clouds of winter
Shrouded the face of the sun,
Then the fair, fair Eleanor, wedded,
Was dressed in the robes she had spun.
But never again in music
Did her silent lips dispart,
Though her lover came from his home by the sea,
And clasped her to his heart;
Though he cried, as he kissed and kissed her,
Till his sobs through the house were heard --
Ah, she was too happy where she had gone,
I ween, to answer a word!

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