3 ERRANTRY

There was a merry passenger,

a messenger, a mariner:

he built a gilded gondola

to wander in, and had in her

a load of yellow oranges

and porridge for his provender;

he perfumed her with marjoram

and cardamom and lavender.

He called the winds of argosies

with cargoes in to carry him

across the rivers seventeen

that lay between to tarry him.

He landed all in loneliness

where stonily the pebbles on

the running river Derrilyn

goes merrily for ever on.

He journeyed then through meadow-lands

to Shadow-land that dreary lay,

and under hill and over hill

went roving still a weary way.

He sat and sang a melody,

his errantry a-tarrying;

he begged a pretty butterfly

that fluttered by to marry him.

She scorned him and she scoffed at him,

she laughed at him unpitying;

so long he studied wizardry

and sigaldry and smithying.

He wove a tissue airy-thin

to snare her in; to follow her

he made him beetle-leather wing

and feather wing of swallow-hair

He caught her in bewilderment

with filament of spider-thread;

he made her soft pavilions

of lilies, and a bridal bed

of flowers and of thistle-down

to nestle down and rest her in;

and silken webs of filmy white

and silver light he dressed her in.

He threaded gems in necklaces,

but recklessly she squandered them

and fell to bitter quarrelling;

then sorrowing he wandered on,

and there he left her withering,

as shivering he fled away;

with windy weather following

on swallow-wing he sped away.

He passed the archipelagoes

where yellow grows the marigold,

where countless silver fountains are,

and mountains are of fairy-gold.

He took to war and foraying,

a-harrying beyond the sea,

and roaming over Belmarie

and Thellamie and Fantasie.

He made a shield and morion

of coral and of ivory,

a sword he made of emerald,

and terrible his rivalry

with elven-knights of Aerie

and Faerie, with paladins

that golden-haired and shining-eyed

came riding by and challenged him.

Of crystal was his habergeon,

his scabbard of chalcedony;

with silver tipped at plenilune

his spear was hewn of ebony.

His javelins were of malachite

and stalactite - he brandished them,

and went and fought the dragon-flies

of Paradise, and vanquished them.

He battled with the Dumbledors,

the Hummerhorns, and Honeybees,

and won the Golden Honeycomb;

and running home on sunny seas

in ship of leaves and gossamer

with blossom for a canopy,

he sat and sang, and furbished up

and burnished up his panoply.

He tarried for a little while

in little isles that lonely lay,

and found there naught but blowing grass;

and so at last the only way

he took, and turned, and coming home

with honeycomb, to memory

his message came, and errand too!

In derring-do and glamoury

he had forgot them, journeying

and tourneying, a wanderer.

So now he must depart again

and start again bis gondola,

for ever still a messenger,

a passenger, a tarrier,

a-roving as a feather does,

a weather-driven mariner.




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