Ballades IV - Of Life

Andrew Lang

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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!”

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