Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FAERY EARL, by ROSA MULHOLLAND

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THE FAERY EARL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Oh, who is this comes ridin'
Last Line: May he ride home, we pray!
Alternate Author Name(s): Gilbert, Lady

OH, who is this comes ridin',
Ridin' down the glen?
Is it one of our own Red-Branch Knights (70)
Or one of the King's men?

With feathers on his helmet,
And gold upon his shield,
His horse is shod with silver shoes,
He ridin' through the field!

Oh, this is not a Red-Branch
Nor one of the King's men,
But this is faery Desmond
Come ridin' back again.

'O lady of the Castle,
O lady with gold hair,
O lady with eyes of pity,
Come down the grey tower stair.

'For I may ask a question,
And you may answer me,
When the sun is red in the forest,
And the moon is white on the sea.'

Says she, 'Sir, ask your question,
And I will answer you;
At sunset or at moonrise
God send that I speak true!

'I know you by your helmet,
And by your voice so sweet,
And by your coal-black charger
With silver on his feet.

'God send you, faery Desmond,
To come back to your own.'
Says he, 'Your answer, lady,
Before the sun goes down.

'I'm ridin' ever and ever
Over the land and sea;
My horse's shoes of silver,
How long will they last me?'

The lady stood and pondered,
The salt tear in her eye --
'Oh, would that I had magic
To make a wise reply.

'Oh, will they wear for ever,
Or will they wear out fast?
Will he ride home this even'
And stable his horse at last?'

'Sweet lady, quick, your answer!'
'Now, God, what can I say? --
Those silver shoes will last, sir,
To ride till Judgement Day.'

He turned, that faery horseman,
And shook his bridle rein;
'Now, come the Day of Judgement
Ere I ride home again.'

The sun went down in the forest,
The moon shone bright as pearl,
The lady lay in the castle,
And died for the faery Earl.

And ye will see him ridin',
Ridin' down the glen,
Over the seas and the rivers,
Over the hill and the plain.

Ye'll see the plume on his helmet
Waftin' among the trees,
And the silver shoes of his charger
Chasin' the moonlit seas.

He's ridin' ever and ever,
He'll ride till Judgement Day;
Oh, when that ride is over,
May he ride home, we pray!

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