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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Ernest Rhys (1859–1946)

The Wedding of Pale Bronwen

THE WIND was waked by the morning light,

And it cried in the gray birch-tree,

And the cry was plain in Bronwen’s bower,

“O Bronwen, come to me!”

Pale, pale sleeps Bronwen, pale she wakes:—

“What bird to my bower is flown?

For my lover, Red Ithel, is at the wars

Before Jerusalem town.”

But still the wind sang in the tree,—

“Come forth, ’tis your wedding morn,

And you must be wed in Holy Land

Ere your little babe is born.”

And still the wind had her true-love’s cry,

“Kind Bronwen, come!” until

She could not rest, and rose to look

To the sea beyond Morva Hill.

And afar came the cry over Morva Hill,

“Kind Bronwen, come to me!”

Till she could not stay, for very love,

And stole away to the sea.

She crossed the hill to the fishing-boats,

And away she sailed so fine:

“Is it far, my love, in the summer sun

To the shores of fair Palestine?”

There was no sun at sea that day,

To watch pale Bronwen drown;

But the sun was hot on the deadly sands

Before Jerusalem town.

All day Red Ithel lay dying there,

But he thought of the far-off sea;

And he cried all day till his lips grew white,

“Kind Bronwen, come to me!”

And so it passed till the evening time,

And then the sea-wind came,

And he thought he lay on Morva Hill

And heard her call his name.

He heard her voice, he held her hand:—

“This is the day,” she said,

“And this is the hour, that Holy Church

Has given for us to wed.”

There was no strength in him to speak,

But his eyes had yet their say:—

“Kind Bronwen, now we will be wed

For ever and ever and aye!”

Beneath the sea pale Bronwen lies,

Red Ithel beneath the sand;

But they are one in Holy Church,

One in love’s Holy Land.

Red Ithel lies by Jerusalem town,

And she in the deep sea lies;

But I trow their little babe was born

In the gardens of Paradise.