Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A QUEEN'S LAMENT, by ISABEL FISKE CONANT

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A QUEEN'S LAMENT, by            
First Line: What shall I do with my elaine, edith, alys
Last Line: I who dare not tell them how I walked the same way!
Subject(s): Courts & Courtiers; Independence; Royal Court Life; Royalty; Kings; Queens

What shall I do with my Elaine, Edith, Alys,
Each of them a harp-string of my three-stringed heart
The three-branched lily, growing in my palace, --
My own daughters, princesses that choose a strange part?

Elaine can weave embroideries, she can write ballads,
There is only one thing in her that I would there were not,
For she could do whate'er she would, and she is beautiful,
Why need she waste her days in love of Lancelot?

Edith rides the wold to hunt, this early April morning,
Hooded falcon on her wrist and a pledged knight be-side,
But not a smile on her lips; she decrees the world grown old,
She asks to what end do we hunt and ride?

Alys of the high-born look; many a lord has wooed her,
But her long golden braids she has severed with a sword,
She vows to wed no man unless he be base-born,
She looks not maidenly and she speaks any word.

What shall I do with my three young daughters,
So their wild hearts break not in three strange ways!
That my three harp-strings snap not . . . what can a Queen do,
A mother whose own daughters heed not what she says?

The world has grown old, there is strange wine in its chalice,
Youth is an ancient thing, as headstrong as the May,
What shall I do with my Elaine, Edith, Alys? . . .
I who dare not tell them how I walked the same way!

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