Home  »  library  »  Song  »  Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797–1839)

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

Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797–1839)

The Mistletoe Bough

  • —The happiest of the happy,
  • When a spring-lock that lay in ambush there
  • Fastened her down forever.—ROGERS.

  • THE MISTLETOE hung in the castle hall,

    The holly branch shone on the old oak wall;

    And the baron’s retainers were blithe and gay,

    And keeping their Christmas holiday.

    The baron beheld, with a father’s pride,

    His beautiful child, young Lovell’s bride;

    While she, with her bright eyes, seemed to be

    The star of the goodly company.

    “I’m weary of dancing now,” she cried:

    “Here tarry a moment—I’ll hide—I’ll hide!

    And, Lovell, be sure thou’rt first to trace

    The clue to my secret lurking-place.”

    Away she ran—and her friends began

    Each tower to search, and each nook to scan;

    And young Lovell cried, “Oh! where dost thou hide?

    I’m lonely without thee, my own dear bride.”

    They sought her that night, and they sought her next day;

    And they sought her in vain, when a week passed away!

    In the highest—the lowest—the loneliest spot,

    Young Lovell sought wildly—but found her not.

    And years flew by, and their grief at last

    Was told as a sorrowful tale long past;

    And when Lovell appeared, the children cried,

    “See! the old man weeps for his fairy bride.”

    At length an oak chest, that had long lain hid,

    Was found in the castle: they raised the lid;

    And a skeleton form lay moldering there

    In the bridal wreath of that lady fair!

    Oh, sad was her fate! In sportive jest

    She hid from her lord in the old oak chest;

    It closed with a spring!—and, dreadful doom,

    The bride lay clasped in her living tomb!