The Hour Before Day

Samuel Lover

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Bereft of his love, and bereaved of his fame,
A knight to the cell of an old hermit came;
"My foes they have slander'd and forced me to fly,
Oh! tell me, good father, what's left but to die?"
Despair not, my son;--thou'lt be righted ere long--
For heaven is above us to right all the wrong!
Remember the words the old hermit doth say,--
"'Tis always the darkest the hour before day!"

"Then back to the tourney and back to the court,
And join thee, the bravest, in chivalry's sport;
Thy foes will be there--and thy lady-love too,
And shew both, thou'rt a knight that is gallant and true!"
He rode in the lists--all his foes he o'erthrew,
And a sweet glance he caught from a soft eye of blue:
And he thought of the words the old hermit did say,
For her glance was as bright as the dawning of day.

The feast it was late in the castle that night,
And the banquet was beaming with beauty and light;
But brightest of all is the lady who glides
To a porch where a knight with a fleet courser bides.
She paused 'neath the arch, at the fierce ban dog's bark,
She trembled to look on the night--'twas so dark;
But her lover he whisper'd, and thus did he say,
"Sweet love it is darkest the hour before day."

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