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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Andrew Lang 1844–1912

Ballades. IV. Of Life


“‘Dead and gone,’—a sorry burden of the Ballad of Life.”—DEATH’S JEST BOOK.

SAY, fair maids, maying

In gardens green,

In deep dells straying,

What end hath been

Two Mays between

Of the flowers that shone

And your own sweet queen?—

“They are dead and gone!”

Say, grave priests, praying

In dule and teen,

From cells decaying

What have ye seen

Of the proud and mean,

Of Judas and John,

Of the foul and clean?—

“They are dead and gone!”

Say, kings, arraying

Loud wars to win,

Of your manslaying

What gain ye glean?

“They are fierce and keen,

But they fall anon,

On the sword that lean,—

They are dead and gone!”


Through the mad world’s scene

We are drifting on,

To this tune, I ween,

“They are dead and gone!”