Calais Sands

Andrew Lang

On Calais Sands the gray began, 
  Then rosy red above they gray; 
The morn with many a scarlet van 
  Leaped, and the world was glad with May! 
The little waves along the bay 
  Broke white upon the shelving strands; 
The sea-mews flitted white as they 
        On Calais Sands! 
On Calais Sands must man with man 
  Wash honor clean in blood to-day;
On spaces wet from waters wan 
  How white the flashing rapiers play,— 
Parry, riposte! and lunge! The fray 
  Shifts for a while, then mournful stands 
The Victor: life ebbs fast away 
        On Calais Sands! 
On Calais Sands a little space 
  Of silence, then the plash and spray, 
The sound of eager waves that ran 
  To kiss the perfumed locks astray, 
To touch these lips that ne’er said “Nay,” 
  To dally with the helpless hands, 
Till the deep sea in silence lay 
        On Calais Sands! 
Between the lilac and the may 
  She waits her love from alien lands; 
Her love is colder than the clay 
        On Calais Sands!